Siena men’s basketball’s Camper wins MAAC Player of the Year

Manny Camper is shown during a game last week in Loudonville. (Gazette file photo)
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Manny Camper is shown during a game last week in Loudonville. (Gazette file photo)

Manny Camper, Siena’s senior co-captain, was named MAAC Player of the Year after averaging a double-double and leading the Saints to earning the No. 1 seed for the conference’s men’s basketball tournament.

“It’s an honor. I give credit to my teammates, my coach and the coaching staff who believed in me, who trusted in me, and put me in a position to be successful,” Camper said during a Wednesday teleconference shortly after the MAAC announced its major individual awards. “So i just want to thank them. It’s an honor. Hard work is paying off, and I thank God for it.”

After playing sparingly as a freshman and serving as a role player as a sophomore, Camper was an All-MAAC first-team selection as a junior and senior. This season, he averaged a team-leading 14.6 points, as well as a MAAC-leading 10 rebounds and 37.8 minutes per game,

Maciariello said Camper is his “favorite type of player” because of his on-court versatility, but his appreciation for Camper goes beyond what the 6-foot-7 senior from Chestertown, Maryland contributes to the box score.

“I think the biggest thing with Manny is just his character,” Maciariello said of Camper, a finalist for this season’s Senior CLASS Award. “You can have all the talent in the world, but if you don’t have the character, that doesn’t mean anything, and that’s why he’s going to be successful in all he does in life and I’m proud to coach him, and so proud of him . . . to receive that award.”

Camper was the second Saint in as many years to win MAAC Player of the Year. Jalen Pickett was last year’s winner.

Camper was the only Siena program member to earn one of the league’s major awards that were announced Wednesday, as head coach Carmen Maciariello lost out to Monmouth’s King Rice for MAAC Coach of the Year. A second-year head coach, Maciariello also didn’t win MAAC Coach of the Year a season ago when the Saints earned the No. 1 seed for the MAAC tournament.

Maciariello said he’s “got no time” to feel disrespected about missing out again on that honor, but Camper said Siena’s players were disappointed not to see the coach receive the league recognition.

“I know I was,” Camper said. “It’s just a question: What more does he have to prove? What more does he have to do?”

Saint Peter’s junior KC Ndefo repeated as the league’s Defensive Player of the Year, Canisius junior Malek Green was named the Sixth Player of the Year and Iona freshman Nelly Junior Joseph earned Rookie of the Year.

Top-seeded Siena plays No. 9 Iona tonight at 5 p.m. in the MAAC tournament quarterfinals.

WOMEN’S AWARDS

No Siena program members earned any of the league’s major individual awards.

The league’s Coach of the Year award was shared by Marist’s Brian Giorgis and Saint Peter’s Marc Mitchell, while the Player of the Year belonged to Quinnipiac’s Mackenzie DeWees.

Quinnipiac’s Mikala Morris won Defensive Player of the Year, while Marist’s Caitlin Weimar and Rider’s Makayla Firebaugh shared Rookie of the Year honors.

Categories: College Sports, Sports

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