The Robert Morris University men’s basketball team clinched the Northeast Conference regular season title back on Feb. 22 against Saint Francis-Brooklyn, and on Tuesday morning the Colonials brought home two of the NEC’s hoop awards.
The honorees were announced as a precursor to the NEC tournament, which begins on Wednesday with quarterfinal play at four campus sites.
The head coaches of the NEC have selected Colonials senior Karvel Anderson as their player of the year. In leading RMU to a fifth NEC regular season title in seven years, the native of Elkhart, Ind., enters the postseason as the league’s leading scorer with 19.6 points per game.
The 6-foot-2 shooting guard also paces the conference with 3.32 3-pointers per game and 46.4-percent shooting from beyond the arc. On Saturday, he became just the seventh player in league annals to eclipse 100 3-pointers in a season, and with 103, he’s now 19 shy of the NEC record. He was also named to the all-NEC first team.
Anderson is Robert Morris’ sixth NEC player of the year award winner, joining Chipper Harris in 1983-84, Vaughn Luton in 1988-89, Myron Walker in 1991-92, Tony Lee in 2007-08 and Jeremy Chappell in 2008-09.
The Jim Phelan coach of the year award went to the Colonials’ Andy Toole. In his fourth year as head coach of the RMU program, Toole overcame a number of challenges to lead the Colonials to a 14-2 campaign in the NEC and the No. 1 seed in the league tournament for the second consecutive year. With a roster pared down to just eight players by mid-January, Toole’s crew answered the call and pulled away from the pack on a pair of seven-game win streaks.
RMU has posted an 87-48 overall record and 53-17 mark against NEC competition in Toole’s four years as head coach. The 33-year-old, originally from Red Bank, N.J., has led the Colonials to a pair of NEC title games along with a win over Kentucky in the 2013 postseason NIT.
Toole joins Matt Furjanic in 1982-83, Jarrett Durham in 1988-89, and Mike Rice in 2007-08 and 2008-09 in winning this award for Robert Morris.
Junior forward Lucky Jones earned postseason accolades as he secured a spot on the all-NEC second team. The 6-6 native of Newark, N.J., is one of just 13 players in program history to eclipse career totals of 1,000 points and 500 rebounds. Jones is the Colonials’ active leader in both categories, as he ranks 18th all-time at Robert Morris for career points with 1,102 and seventh in career rebounds with 625.
Robert Morris opens the NEC tournament with a quarterfinal matchup against Fairleigh Dickinson on Wednesday, March 5 at the Charles L. Sewall Center. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.