March 3, 2008
2008 All-Patriot League MBB Teams
ANNAPOLIS, Md. --
For the first time in school history, a Navy men's basketball player has been named Patriot League Player of the Year as Greg Sprink
was named the recipient on Monday, announced by the Patriot League in voting done by the league coaches. Sprink becomes Navy's first player to win either of the three major awards (Player, Defensive Player of Rookie of the Year) handed out by the Patriot League. Sprink becomes Navy's fifth first-team honoree and first since Chris Williams earned first-team All-League honors in 2001.
In addition, Navy's fourth-year head coach Billy Lange was named Patriot League Coach of the Year, Chris Harris earned second-team accolades and Romeo Garcia was a member of the All-Rookie Team.
Sprink, a 6-5, 220-pound senior guard from Cardiff by the Sea, Calif., enters Wednesday night's Patriot League Tournament quarterfinal game against Bucknell as the league's leading scorer with a 21.2 ppg average in all games played and a 23.5 ppg average in the 14 league games. He is on pace to become the first Patriot League player to average 20.0 ppg in a season since 1998 and the first Navy player to do so since Erik Harris (20.0 ppg) in 1991. In addition, Sprink ranks second in rebounding (6.3 rpg), second in free throw percentage (.867) and 10th in assists (2.8 apg). He already ranks fifth on the Navy single-season scoring chart (616 points) behind just David Robinson (1985, 1986 and 1987) and John Clune (1954). He has made 189 free throws this year, ranking third on the Navy single-season chart and ranking sixth nationally in that category, while making 85 more free throws than Lafayette's Bilal Abdullah, who is second place in made free throws in the Patriot League. Sprink has made a habit of posting big games during the year, with four double-doubles and four 30-point performances, including a pair against regular-season champion American. He scored 36 points in Navy's 77-66 win over the Eagles on Jan. 30, the most points for any Patriot Leaguer this year, then tallied 34 points with seven assists in a 83-68 win over American on Feb. 27. He has scored in double-figures in 27-of-29 games this year.
For his career, Sprink ranks third on the career scoring chart with 1,748 points and is the school's all-time leader in three-point field goals (232). An outstanding free throw shooter, Sprink has a career percentage of .846, good for second place on the career list and he owns three of the top six single-season free throw percentage marks, including an .867 percentage this year. He also ranks 11th in both career rebounds (586) and career assists (249) and is one of three Patriot League players to score 1,500 points, grab 500 rebounds and dish out 200 assists in a career.
Sprink was joined on the first team by Army's Jarell Brown, Holy Cross' Tim Clifford, Bucknell's John Griffin and American's Garrison Carr. Carr, a junior, is the only underclassmen on the team.
Lange has led a Navy basketball resurgence, guiding the Mids to a 16-13 overall record and a 9-5 Patriot League mark. Both win totals are the most for the Midshipmen since the 2000-01 season. The Mids grabbed the No. 2 seed heading into the Patriot League Tournament after being picked seventh in the preseason poll. After opening the season with a 3-8 mark, Navy has won 13 of its next 18 games, including six in a row late in the Patriot League season to put it in contention for the regular-season title. Installing a high-tempo, fast-paced offensive attack spearheaded by Sprink, Harris and Kaleo Kina
, Navy leads the league in scoring (76.0 ppg), free throw percentage (.753), steals (9.1) and turnover margin (+2.41). Fans have also enjoyed Lange's up-tempo offense, as Navy averaged 3,083 fans for its seven Patriot League home contests and 2,244 fans for all of its games. The 2,244 per game average is the highest-average attendance since 2001-02 and the fourth-highest average in Alumni Hall history.
Lange becomes the second Navy coach to win Patriot League Coach of the Year honors, after Don DeVoe won the award three times (1994, 1997 and 2000).
Meanwhile, sophomore guard Chris Harris
earned second-team All-Patriot League honors after an outstanding season. Harris is averaging 14.4 points per game and leads the team in assists (102) and steals (55). One of the top three-point shooters in the Patriot League, Harris has knocked down a school-record 86 three-pointers this year and is third on the Navy single-season three-point percentage list at .422. His 102 assists are tied for the 20th most in a season in school history and his 55 steals are the 11th most in a year. The 6-2, 175-pound guard from Mechanicsville, Va., has been even better in Patriot League, ranking fourth in league games only in scoring (17.6 ppg), third in assists (3.9 apg) and first in steals (2.00 spg). He is second in league games only in three-pointers per game at 3.79 made threes per game. Harris has had 23 double-figure scoring efforts this year and has six 20-point games under his belt. He scored a career-high 29 points in Navy's win at Holy Cross on Jan. 23, which snapped a 17-game losing streak to the Crusaders. He has connected on seven three-pointers in a game twice this year, becoming only the second player in school history (Sprink being the other) to connect on at least seven three-pointers in a game twice during his career. For his career, he has 110 three-pointers in just 59 games. Harris is the eighth Navy player to earn second-team accolades.
Harris was joined on the second team by Lafayette's Bilal Abdullah and Andrew Brown, Lehigh's Marquis Hall, Colgate's Kyle Roemer and American's Derek Mercer.
, a 6-4, 202-pound freshman from Cypress, Texas, earned Patriot League All-Rookie Team honors after an outstanding freshman campaign. Garcia is averaging 4.1 ppg and 3.7 rpg overall, but has seen his averages bump to 5.2 ppg and 4.1 rpg in league games. He has dished out 33 assists against just 24 turnovers and has added 25 steals and 16 blocked shots. Garcia is only the second freshman in school history to have scored 100 points (112), grabbed 100 rebounds (100), dished out 30 assists (33) and grab 25 steals (25) in a season. In league games only, he ranks fourth among Patriot League freshmen in scoring, but is first in rebounding, assists, steals, field goal percentage and is third in blocked shots. He scored a career-high 10 points against both NJIT and Holy Cross, and grabbed 10 rebounds against Longwood on Jan. 5. His 1.38 assist/turnover ratio is tops among the team for players have played at least 20 games.
Garcia is 16th player in school history to earn All-Rookie Team honors, including the third active player (Greg Sprink and Kaleo Kina). During Billy Lange's four years at Navy, five players have been named to the Patriot League All-Rookie Team. Garcia, Holy Cross' Andrew Beinert, Lehigh's Rob Keefer, Bucknell's Todd O'Brien and Colgate's Mike Venezia made up the team.
Keefer was named the Rookie of the Year and Bucknell's Stephen Tyree earned Defensive Player of the Year. In all, 10 of the 11 players that made up the two teams (Holy Cross' Clifford) were 6-5 or shorter.
Navy will host Bucknell in the Patriot League Tournament quarterfinals on Wednesday night at Alumni Hall in Annapolis. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 pm and tickets are still available by calling 1-800-US4-NAVY.
# GO NAVY #