SOMERSET, N.J. – The Northeast Conference released its All-Conference honorees on Tuesday morning, where three members of the Quinnipiac University men's basketball team were recognized for their outstanding play this season. Senior James Johnson (Queens, N.Y.) and sophomore Ike Azotam (Boston, Mass.) earned selections to the NEC Second Team, while freshman Ousmane Drame (Boston, Mass.) was named to the All-Rookie Team.
"We are very proud to have James Johnson, Ike Azotam, and Ousmane Drame represent Quinnipiac Basketball with Northeast Conference regular-season honors," said Head Coach Tom Moore. The Bobcats have now received at least one player with at least All-Second Team honors in each of Coach Moore's five seasons at QU.
James Johnson, a two-time All-NEC Conference selection, fared very well in his final season with the Bobcats. The 6-foot guard averaged 16.3 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.4 assists throughout the 2011-12 regular season. He led the team in points per game, minutes played per game (36.2), steals (38) and three-point field goals made (61), while finishing second in three-point field goal percentage (.361) and assists (96). Johnson carried much of the load on the offensive end, including two games where he poured in a season-high 28 points. He first hit the mark at St. Francis (N.Y.) and most recently accomplished the feat on Senior Day against Robert Morris. Johnson scored double-figures in 23 games for the Bobcats and reached the 20-point plateau in eight contests.
"James has been an incredible leader and winner for us," said Head Coach Tom Moore. "He has started every game in his career here and will leave in the Top Ten in scoring at Quinnipiac University. In addition to his durability and consistency, he has been able to compete at a high level on both ends of the court, providing scoring and shot-making with outstanding perimeter defense."
Ike Azotam was also selected to the conference's first team, earning his first career regular season accolade. The 6-foot-7 forward had a tremendous season that put him on track to surpass Justin Rutty in several statistical categories. Azotam averaged 15.9 points and 9.5 rebounds per game, a rebounding figure that has him ranked second in the conference and 29th in the nation. He has been an absolute force on the block and obtains the ability to take over any game on both ends of the floor. On December 22 against Niagara, Azotam poured in a career-high 32 points to go along with nine rebounds in an 85-81 victory over the Purple Eagles. Furthermore, Azotam led the NEC in double-doubles on the season. He had 13 of them, four behind the QU single-season record, which also ranks him top-25 in the nation.
"Ike Azotam has blossomed into one of the premiere inside forces in the NEC as just a sophomore," said Coach Moore. "I don't think anyone in the league has improved as much as Ike in one year. His combination of scoring and rebounding has been at a consistently high level all season and has allowed us to remain in the Top Two in the country in three national rebounding categories."
Ousmane Drame unexpectedly stepped into a starting role this season, and flourished because of it. The 6-foot-9 forward has been a sensational complement to Azotam, forming a dominant front court duo. Drame averaged 6.9 points and 7.4 rebounds throughout the regular season, ranking him first amongst freshmen in rebounding. Drame became Quinnipiac's Rookie leader in rebounds (215) surpassing Azotam and Rutty who previously resided at No. 1 and No.2 in the category. Drame also became the QU Rookie Leader in blocked shots, shattering the preceding mark of 19.
"Ousmane Drame is another young inside player who has improved tremendously in a short time," commented Coach Moore. "His length, hands, and feel have allowed him to make immediate contributions at both ends of the court in very big spots for us. Statistically, he is ahead of both Justin Rutty and Ike Azotam in terms of rebounding as a freshman and we are very excited about his future."
The Bobcats are back in action on Thursday, March 1 at St. Francis (N.Y) with the Northeast Conference Quarterfinals. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. at the Pope Physical Education Center in Brooklyn Heights, N.Y. For all information regarding QU men's basketball, please visit www.QuinnipiacBobcats.com.
Contact: Tony Distasio; Ardistasio@quinnipiac.edu