For the first time in his basketball life, Joe Cremo found himself coming off the bench.
That just gave him a chance to win another award.
The University at Albany freshman was named the America East Sixth Man and Rookie of the Year by the conference Monday. He is the first player in conference history to win both awards in the same season.
Cremo, the former Scotia-Glenville star and only non-starter named to the conference all-rookie team, averaged 10.5 points per game on .521 shooting in 20.8 minutes per game this season for the Great Danes (24-7), the No. 2 seed going into the America East Tournament this week. He won three conference Rookie of the Week honors.
Coach Will Brown expressed concern before the season about finding minutes for the freshman.
"I knew I had to prove myself," Cremo said Monday. "I still have a lot of room to grow."
Cremo joins former UAlbany players Jon Iati and Jamar Wilson as Great Danes to win Rookie of the Year.
UAlbany seniors Ray Sanders and Evan Singletary were named first team all-conference, while Peter Hooley made third-team. Sanders, the only player in America East to record 50 steals, was named to the all-defensive team.
Brown said of all the awards, he was most proud that three Great Danes made the all-academic team: Hooley, Dallas Ennema and Mike Rowley. For Hooley, it was his third selection. This is a second selection for Ennema.
Stony Brook senior forward Jameel Warney repeated as player and defensive player of the year. Steve Pikiell, coach of regular-season champion Stony Brook, was voted Coach of the Year for the fourth time.
Award winners were nominated by their own coaches and voted on by the conference’s head coaches, who could not vote for their own team.
Evan Singletary, Sr., G, UAlbany; Ray Sanders, Sr., G, UAlbany; Tanner Leissner, So., F, New Hampshire; Carson Puriefoy, Sr., G, Stony Brook; Jameel Warney, Sr., F, Stony Brook.
Pancake Thomas, Jr., G, Hartford; Jairus Lyles, So., G, UMBC; Jahad Thomas, So., F, UMass Lowell; Jaleen Smith, Jr., G, New Hampshire; Rayshaun McGrew, Sr., F, Stony Brook.
Peter Hooley, Sr., G, UAlbany; Willie Rodriguez, So., G, Binghamton; Trae Bell-Haynes, So., G, Vermont; Ethan O’Day, Sr., F, Vermont; Kurt Steidl, Jr., F, Vermont.
Ray Sanders, Jr., G, UAlbany; Rayshaun McGrew, Sr., F, Stony Brook; Ahmad Walker, Jr., G, Stony Brook; Jameel Warney, Sr., F, Stony Brook; Dre Wills, Jr., G, Vermont.
Joe Cremo, Fr., G, UAlbany; Issac Vann, Fr., F, Maine; Joe Sherburne, Fr., F, UMBC; Isaac White, So., G, UMass Lowell; Ernie Duncan, R-Fr., Vermont.
Dallas Ennema, Jr., UAlbany; Peter Hooley, Sr., UAlbany; Mike Rowley, Jr., UAlbany; Mark Cornelius, Sr., UMass Lowell; Bryan Sekunda, So., Stony Brook.