FAIRFIELD, Conn. - Sacred Heart University men's basketball red-shirt junior Jare'l Spellman became the first player in program-history to be named the NEC Defensive Player of the Year, while E.J. Anosike became the second player in program-history to be named the NEC Most Improved Player of the Year. The Pioneers had a total of five players earn NEC recognition with Sean Hoehn being named to the All-NEC First Team, Anosike to the Second Team, while Cameron Parker and Koreem Ozier were both named to the All-NEC Rookie Team as announced by the league Tuesday afternoon.
It is the first time in program-history that the Pioneers had five players earn conference recognition in one season. It is also the first time in program-history that the Pioneers had more than one player earn Rookie Team honors.
Spellman is the first Pioneer in the program's 20-year NEC-history to be named the Defensive Player of the Year. Spellman currently leads the NEC and is fourth in the nation in total blocks (95) and blocks per game (3.06). Spellman's 12.14 block percentage is first in the NEC and ranks 10th nationally. His 95 blocks set the program-record for blocks in a single season in Division I era and has him tied at third all-time on the program's Division I career blocks list.
Anosike is the second Pioneer to earn the NEC Most Improved Player of the Year Award, joining Liam Potter who earned the award after the 2009-10 season. Last season Anosike averaged 4.2 points and 3.9 rebounds per game and upped his average to 14.2 points (+10 PPG) and 8.1 rebounds (+4.2 RPG) this season.
Anosike was also named to the All-NEC Second Team after averaging 15.4 points and 8.3 rebounds per game in NEC-play. Anosike's 52.2 field-goal percentage ranked second, while his 3.32 offensive rebounds per game ranks first in the NEC and 20th in the country. Anosike totaled five double-doubles in NEC-play and seven on the season.
Hoehn, is the eighth player in program-history to earn All-NEC First Team honors. Hoehn finished third in the NEC in scoring with 17.9 points per game. Hoehn shot 47.2% from the field and 41.4% from three this season, which ranked 12th and fourth in the NEC respectively. Hoehn has scored in double-figures in 27 of the Pioneers' 31 games, leading the team in scoring in 14 games and dropping at least 20 points in 11 of the 27 contests. Hoehn has scored 1,349 career points, which is 23rd on the program's all-time scoring list.
Parker was named to the All-NEC Rookie Team after averaging 6.2 points, 7.0 assists and 3.8 rebounds on the season. Parker's seven assists per game leads the NEC and is seventh in the nation, while his 210 total assists also leads the NEC and ranks sixth in the nation. Parker's assist totals set the NEC freshman assist record, surpassing Jason Brickman's total of 180 from the 2010-11 season. Parker's 210 assists is also the highest single-season assist total in the NEC in the past five seasons.
Ozier was named to the All-NEC Rookie Team after averaging 14.2 points and 4.5 rebounds per game for the Pioneers. He ranked second among NEC freshmen in scoring and third in rebounding. Ozier scored in double-figures in 15 of the 22 games he has appeared in and eclipsed 20 points in five contests.
SHU men's basketball will be back in action Wednesday, March 6, when the third-seeded Pioneers play host to number six LIU Brooklyn in the NEC Quarterfinals at 6 p.m. on NEC Front Row.