HAMDEN, Conn. Justin Rutty (Newburgh, N.Y.) led three Quinnipiac University men's basketball players named All-Northeast Conference with a first-team selection, the league office today announced. In addition to being named to the second team, James Feldeine (New York, N.Y.) was tabbed the league's inaugural Most Improved Player. James Johnson (Queens, N.Y.) rounded out the Bobcats' all-conference selections with an All-Rookie Team nod.
The Bobcats placed a player on both the All-NEC First Team and All-Rookie Team for the second consecutive season under Head Coach Tom Moore. Last season, DeMario Anderson earned first-team recognition, while Evann Baker (Washington, D.C.) was named to the All-Rookie Team.
"I'm particularly pleased that James Feldeine has been named the inaugural NEC Most Improved Player," said Moore. "He has obviously worked very hard on his game and on his body since his arrival here at Quinnipiac. His improvement has not only come on the basketball court, but also in the classroom here at Quinnipiac."
Rutty established himself as one of the league's premier big men to become the first sophomore to be named to the first team in the last five years. He led the conference in rebounding at 9.5 boards per game (24th-NCAA), while compiling a league-leading 11 double-doubles. His 4.4 offensive rebounds per game rank second in the nation, behind only Pittsburgh's DeJuan Blair. Rutty's 14.9 points per game rank 10th in the league and his .603 field-goal percentage ranks second (14th-NCAA). He also ranks fifth in the NEC in defensive rebounds per game (5.07) and eighth in blocks (1.07).
"It is a tremendous honor for Justin and our program for him to earn first-team all-league honors as a sophomore," said Moore. "His development and growth as a player has been particularly satisfying to me and our entire staff. I think he has quickly emerged as one of the premier low post scoring options in our league."
Feldeine has improved dramatically in each of the last two seasons en route to being named the NEC's Most Improved Player. After averaging 0.6 points per game as a seldom-used freshman in 2006-07, Feldeine upped his scoring average to 8.3 points per game as a sophomore in 2007-08. His production more than doubled as a junior this season, as he currently ranks first in the league at 16.8 points per game. He's scored in double figures in 28 of 29 games this season. One of the most versatile players in the league, Feldeine ranks sixth in steals (1.66 spg), seventh in minutes per game (33.79), eighth in defensive rebounds (4.41), 10th in rebounds (6.1 rpg), tied for 14th in three-point field goals made per game (1.59) and 17th in assists (2.38 apg).
"James Feldeine has done an incredible job this season as our primary wing scorer, replacing DeMario Anderson," said Moore. "James is an aggressive offensive player who enjoys the challenge and responsibilities that come with being the primary scorer."
Johnson wasted no time establishing himself as a leader on the floor for the Bobcats. He started each of the Bobcats' 29 games this season, averaging 32.76 minutes per game (7th-NEC). He's contributed 10.0 points (30th-NEC), 4.21 assists (6th-NEC) and 1.62 steals (7th-NEC) per game while shooting 80.5 percent from the free-throw line (9th-NEC). His 1.54 assist-to-turnover ratio ranks fifth in the NEC.
"James Johnson has been an incredibly consistent player for a freshman," said Moore. "He has played a lot of minutes in a season where we needed stability due to the large number of injuries we experienced. He is a terrific defender with great toughness for a freshman."
The fifth-seeded Bobcats begin NEC Tournament play Thursday at No. 4 Long Island. Opening tip is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Wellness, Recreation and Athletic Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.