Albertus Magnus Men's Basketball's Jaqhawn Walters Voted GNAC Player of the Year


WINTHROP, Mass. – Albertus Magnus College junior forward Jaqhawn Walters has been voted as the 2017 Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Men’s Basketball Player of the Year, it was announced on Monday afternoon.

The Hartford, Conn. product was named GNAC Tournament MVP on Saturday after leading the Falcons to their fifth conference championship in six years. Entering the NCAA Tournament, Walters is third among league leaders at 20.7 points per game and first with 13.4 rebounds. He is also shooting 55.1 percent from the floor.

Anna Maria College freshman big man Mike Rapoza was voted the GNAC Rookie of the Year by the league’s head coaches, as the double-double machine averaged 17.1 points and 12.7 rebounds per contest for the AMCATS. Rapoza was an All-GNAC Second Team pick.

Along with Walters, Johnson & Wales University senior Anthony Jernigan, Lasell College seniors Armin Omanovic and John Powell and Mount Ida senior Ethan Dujon were recognized on the GNAC First Team.

The Division III national leader in steals at 3.4 per game, Jernigan averaged 22.3 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.2 assists for the Wildcats. He also shot 37.5 percent from three-point territory.

Omanovic enjoyed a senior campaign for the ages. His 28.0 points per game was good for second in the country, as he topped the 30-point mark times, including seven of his last nine games. He shot 37.7 percent from beyond the arc and led the GNAC in both three-pointers made (84) and free throws made (179). The senior also added 4.8 boards and 4.0 assists per game.

Lasers teammate Powell averaged 16.9 points and 9.1 rebounds while shooting 58.3 percent overall from the field.

Dujon ranked third among conference leaders with a 43.3 percent mark from three-point range. He averaged 16.0 points and 4.0 rebounds per game despite playing averaging just 25.4 minutes.

GNAC Defensive Player of the Year accolades went to Mount Ida College junior guard Jayson Clark, a Third Team selection. Clark was second in the GNAC with 2.2 steals in a mere 25.4 minutes per game. He also led the league with 5.1 assists to go along with per-game averages of 10.3 points and 3.0 rebounds.

Mount Ida fourth-year head coach Benjamin Davis was voted the GNAC Coach of the Year after guiding the Mustangs to a 12-6 conference record and No. 4 seed in the conference tournament. It was a five-win improvement from the 2015-16 Mount Ida squad that went 7-11 in league play.

Founded in 1995, the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) is an NCAA Division III association made up of 12 member institutions and over 3,000 student-athletes across the New England region. Each year, the GNAC sponsors and administers 17 championships, while balancing academic integrity, athletic opportunities and community involvement. 

First Team
Jaqhawn Walters, Albertus Magnus (Jr., Hartford, Conn.)
Anthony Jernigan, Johnson & Wales (Sr., East Hartford, Conn.)
Armin Omanovic, Lasell (Sr., Wilkesboro, N.C.)
John Powell, Lasell (Sr., Ashland, Mass.)
Ethan Dujon, Mount Ida (Sr., Warwick, R.I.)

Second Team
Grant Ellis, Albertus Magnus (Sr., Newark, N.J.)
Mike Rapoza, Anna Maria (Fr., Charlton, Mass.)
Jarell Lawson, Johnson & Wales (Jr., Providence, R.I.)
Marc Corey, Saint Joseph’s of Maine (So., Londonderry, N.H.)
Michael Hagopian, Suffolk (So., Watertown, Mass.)

Third Team
Devin Coleman, Albertus Magnus (Sr., Bridgeport, Conn.)
Michael Kiser, Johnson & Wales (Jr., Pike Road, Ala.)
Tim Blair, Lasell (So., Newington, Conn.)
Jayson Clark, Mount Ida (Jr., Austin, Texas)
Mike Hogervorst, Norwich (Jr., Leiden, South Holland, Netherlands)

Player of the Year – Jaqhawn Walters, Albertus Magnus
Defensive Player of the Year – Jayson Clark, Mount Ida
Rookie of the Year – Mike Rapoza, Anna Maria
Coach of the Year – Benjamin Davis, Mount Ida
Institutional Sportsmanship Award – Suffolk University

All-Sportsmanship Team
Jemaa Yuori, Albertus Magnus (Jr., Ghana)
David Jean-Louis, Anna Maria (Sr., Miramar, Fla.)
Matt Raine, Emmanuel (Sr., Miami, Fla.)
Derek McMahon, Lasell (Jr., Hatfield, Mass.)
Matt Madoian, Johnson & Wales (So., North Kingstown, R.I.)
Kevin Conner, Mount Ida (Jr., Mansfield, Mass.)
Darius Bryant, Norwich (Jr., Calhoun Falls, S.C.)
David Lorden, Rivier (Sr., Pepperell, Mass.)
John Crawley, Saint Joseph’s of Maine (Sr., Fitchburg, Mass.)
Steven DiPrizio, Suffolk (So., Medford, Mass.)