Pusica, Roland Earn All-CAA Honors

Redshirt senior point guard Vasa Pusica took home All-CAA First-Team honors for the second straight year. (Image Credit: GoNU).
Redshirt senior point guard Vasa Pusica took home All-CAA First-Team honors for the second straight year. (Image Credit: GoNU).

By Milton Posner

Reminder: Northeastern begins CAA Tournament play on Sunday at 6 PM ET against the winner of Saturday’s Elon–UNCW game. Matt MacCormack, Justin Littman and Michael Petillo will have the call, with pregame coverage beginning at 5:30 PM ET.

Vasa Pusica and Jordan Roland have a lot in common. They’re both versatile upperclassmen guards who soared to new heights after transferring to Northeastern before their junior years.

And Friday, courtesy of CAA head coaches, media relations directors and media members, they’ve both made the 2018–19 All-CAA Teams. Pusica notched his second straight First Team appearance, while Roland, in his first season with the Huskies, made the Third Team.

Pusica, a redshirt senior point guard, averaged 18 points, four rebounds and four assists while shooting 50 percent from the floor. Excluding two games where he played hurt (he missed seven with injuries and illness), he logged double digit scoring efforts in every game he played as he led Northeastern to the conference’s second-best record (14–4).

Roland, a redshirt junior two-guard, notched 15 points, three rebounds and two assists a game. His biggest strength was his efficiency; he shot 40 percent from three (third-best in the conference) and 90 percent from the foul line. His energetic off-ball movement catalyzed the Husky offense, particularly during the home stretch of conference play.

Redshirt junior guard Jordan Roland shot his way onto the All-CAA Third Team.
Redshirt junior guard Jordan Roland shot his way onto the All-CAA Third Team (Image Credit: GoNU).

The first-place Hofstra Pride owned the CAA awards in much the same way Northeastern did last year. They were led by Justin Wright-Foreman, the CAA’s Player of the Year for the second consecutive year. His 27 points per game were tops in the CAA and second-best in the nation this year, as well as second-best ever in the CAA. He shot 52 percent from the field (fifth in the conference), 86 percent from the line (third) and 44 percent from three (first).

Wright-Foreman’s crowning jewel was a 48-point onslaught against William & Mary on Feb. 9, the CAA’s second-best scoring effort behind David Robinson’s 50 in 1987. He is the CAA’s first unanimous Player of the Year since Brett Blizzard in 2003, and one of five finalists for the Jerry West Shooting Guard of the Year Award.

Hofstra head coach Joe Mihalich won Coach of the Year after leading the team to a 25–6 record (15–3 CAA) and its first outright CAA regular-season title. From late November through January, the Pride recorded 16 consecutive wins, the nation’s longest streak at the time.

Hofstra guard Desure Buie won Defensive Player of the Year and was joined on the All-Defensive Team by Hofstra big man Jacquil Taylor. Guard Eli Pemberton’s Second Team showing and Buie’s Third Team selection rounded out Hofstra’s awards dominance.

Despite finishing just one game behind Hofstra, Northeastern came up well short of the Pride in the postseason awards. This isn’t too surprising considering Northeastern’s offensive balance, but the lack of Huskies on the All-Defensive Team is a bit more startling.

The Huskies had the league’s second-best defense but no All-Defensive Players; Hofstra, by contrast, has the league’s fifth-best defense but landed Defensive Player of the Year Buie and big man Jacquil on the All-Defensive Team. Northeastern’s 6’1 guard Donnell Gresham Jr. and 6’6 guard/forward Bolden Brace were natural candidates given their strong defensive efforts, particularly against elite CAA scorers. But save for Buie, the All-Defensive Team members were all 6’7 or taller.

Joining Pusica and Wright-Foreman on the First Team are Charleston’s Grant Riller (22 ppg, 53% FG) and Jarrell Brantley (20 ppg, 9 rpg, 52% FG), William & Mary’s Nathan Knight (21 ppg, 8 rpg, two bpg, 59% FG), and UNCW’s Devontae Cacok (15 ppg, 12 rpg, 59% FG). Elon’s Sheldon Eberhardt took Sixth Man of the Year honors.

The full list of awards, courtesy of CAA.com:

First Team

  • G Vasa Pusica (Northeastern)
  • G Justin Wright-Foreman (Hofstra)
  • F/C Jarrell Brantley (Charleston) — Second Team for the last two years
  • G Grant Riller (Charleston) — First Team last year
  • F/C Devontae Cacok (UNCW) — First Team last year
  • F/C Nathan Knight (William & Mary) — Second Team last year, finalist for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award

Second Team

  • F/C Eric Carter (Delaware)
  • G Brian Fobbs (Towson)
  • G Stuckey Mosley (James Madison)
  • G Eli Pemberton (Hofstra)
  • F/C Tyler Seibring (Elon) — Scholar-Athlete of the Year

Third Team

  • G Desure Buie (Hofstra)
  • F Alihan Demir (Drexel)
  • G Troy Harper (Drexel)
  • G Matt Lewis (James Madison)
  • F Justin Pierce (William & Mary)
  • G Jordan Roland (Northeastern)

All-Rookie Team

  • G Camren Wynter (Drexel) — Rookie of the Year
  • G Chase Audige (William & Mary)
  • G Ithiel Horton (Delaware)
  • G Kai Toews (UNCW)
  • G Deshon Parker (James Madison)

All-Defensive Team

  • G Desure Buie (Hofstra)
  • F/C Jacquil Taylor (Hofstra)
  • F/C Devontae Cacok (UNCW)
  • F/C Nathan Knight (William & Mary)
  • F/C Dennis Tunstall (Towson)

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