With all these lists out for players and teams of the decade it's only right that I do one for the NEC. It's been a calm decade (relatively speaking) in regards to conference membership, with UMBC leaving for America East following the 2002-03 season and not being replaced until the NEC added Bryant before last season. Due to that those two schools won't be included in this list, but there's some quality from which to choose among the other eleven schools.
But who would the team of the decade be? CCSU and Monmouth got off to good starts in the decade, each winning two NEC Tournament titles in the first five years. From there the balance of power shifted some to Robert Morris and Mount St. Mary's but the Blue Devils and Hawks still lead the schools when it comes to titles this decade with three apiece. But with the Blue Devils having slightly better fortunes in recent years Howie Dickenman's program would be my pick for Team of the Decade. Let's just say that there are compelling arguments that can be made for Monmouth and a couple other schools as well.
Now for the players of the decade. One player for each of the eleven schools (remember, no UMBC or Bryant due to their length of time in the NEC) will be listed below along with a few of their accomplishments.
CCSU: Corsley Edwards (1998-2002)
Edwards' career spanned the end of the 90s and the beginning of the
current decade but his excellence is tough to ignore. The last NEC
player to be selected in the NBA Draft, Corsley led the Blue Devils to
their second NCAA Tournament in 2002 and was selected to an All-NEC
team of some sort in each of his four seasons in New Britain.
Fairleigh Dickinson: Gordon Klaiber (2002-06) Klaiber was an All-NEC selection in each of his final two seasons, making the first team as a junior and the second team as a senior. Gordon finished his career with 1,589 points, which ranks sixth all-time on the FDU scoring list. In the 2003-04 and 2004-05 seasons Klaiber led the Knights in both points and rebounds per game.
Long Island: James Williams (2003-07) Williams was one of the most prolific scorers in the history of the LIU program, finishing as the program's third-leading scorer with a total of 1,710 points. James was named Rookie of the Year following the 2003-04 season and was an All-NEC selection in each of his final three seasons (First Team as a junior, Second Team as a sophomore and a senior).
Monmouth: Rahsaan Johnson (1999-2002) There may be some yells out there for the likes of Marques Alston but what Johnson was able to do in three years at Monmouth was nothing short of outstanding. Rahsaan scored 1,628 points in three seasons, leaving school with an average of 18.7 points per game, and he also led the team in assists per game in each of his three seasons.
Mount St. Mary's: Landy Thompson (2002-06) Thompson ended his career as the Mountaineers' 8th-best all-time scorer with a total of 1,733 points, good for an average of 15.3 points per game. An All-Rookie selection in 2002-03, Thompson was also Second Team All-NEC in both his sophomore and senior seasons.
Quinnipiac: Rob Monroe (2001-05) Even with the ongoing exploits of James Feldeine it's hard to name a guard other than Monroe as the most dynamic in QU history. Rob finished his career with 1,685 points and 541 assists, with both numbers ranking among the Top 25 in NEC history. Monroe was an All-Rookie selection in 2001-02 as well as an All-NEC pick as a sophomore (second team) and a senior (first team).
Robert Morris: Jeremy Chappell (2005-09) Chappell ended his career as the Colonials' second all-time leading scorer with a total of 1,875 points. Named NEC Player of the Year as a senior, Jeremy was also an All-Rookie selection in 2005-06 as well as Second Team All-NEC as a junior.
Sacred Heart: Maurice Bailey (2001-04) The Pioneers have been known more for their balance in recent years, meaning that Bailey's 1,422 career points carry the day. Maurice was named Second Team All-NEC as both a sophomore and a senior.
Saint Francis (PA): Darshan Luckey (2002-05) Luckey had a standout rookie campaign, winning Rookie of the Year as well as First Team All-NEC honors. By the time his career was over Darshan finished with two First Team honors and a Second Team honor sandwiched in between, finishing with 1,699 career points.
St. Francis (NY): Tory Cavalieri (2002-05) Good luck finding a player for this honor when examining the Terriers' decade. Playing three years at the Brooklyn school, Cavalieri was a Second Team All-NEC selection as a senior, averaging 15.6 points and 4.8 assists per game.
Wagner: Jermaine Hall (1999-2003) Hall lit up NEC scoreboards for four seasons, finishing his career with a school-record 2,278 points (fourth in NEC history). An All-Rookie selection after the 1999-2000 season, Hall was a First Team All-NEC pick in each of his final three seasons and NEC Player of the Year as a senior.
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