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News Feed - March 2, 2009

Not unexpectedly, American, the Patriot League regular-season champion, swept top honors when the conference awards were announced Monday. Senior point guard Derrick Mercer was selected the player of the year and Jeff Jones was named coach of the year in a vote by the league’s coaches. Senior guard Garrison Carr was a first-team all-league selection, and senior forward Brian Gilmore was chosen to the second team.

Mercer becomes only the fifth player in league history to win both the rookie of the year and player of the year awards and the first since 2001. He also is the first AU player to win the POY award since Patrick Doctor in 2002. Jones earned coach of the year honors for the first time.

Mercer has put up many impressive statistics throughout his career, including becoming the first player in league history to record 1,200 points and 500 assists, but the two that stand out are games and minutes played. The Jersey City, N.J., native hasn’t missed a game in his career, playing in more games (119) and starting more contests (117) than any player to wear an AU uniform. Mercer, who has never averaged less than 32 minutes per game in any season, is averaging 37.1 minutes this season and has played 40 or more minutes in 10 contests this season. American simply can’t afford to have its floor leader off the court.

“The bottom line with Derrick is that he does so many different things to help our team win,” Jones said. “He does a lot of things out on the court that make things easier for his teammates. He is certainly a valuable part of our basketball team and I’m just glad he’s on our side.”

Jones’s ninth season at American has been one of the program’s best. The Eagles (21-7, 13-1 Patriot) won back-to-back Patriot League regular season titles, posted back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time in 26 years and enjoyed the school’s best conference record since going undefeated in the East Coast Conference in 1981. AU’s 11 road wins is tops among Division I teams and its 10-game winning streak is third best in Division I. Jones became the winningest coach in school history this season with an overall record of 146-120.

Carr was selected to the Patriot League first team for the second year in a row. One of the most prolific scorers in school history, Carr finished second in the league in scoring (17.5 points per game) and first in three-point field goals (95). His 283 career three-pointers rank him third in league history.

Gilmore earned his first all-conference honor by finishing as one of the league’s top 10 scorers (11.8 ppg) and rebounders (5.5 rpg). He also ranks fourth in field goal percentage (.515) and third in three-point field goal percentage (.416).

By Kathy Orton  |  March 2, 2009; 12:28 PM ET
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So deserving. A great honor for a great all-around leader and floor general.

Posted by: Hoops44 | March 2, 2009 8:06 PM

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