I don't think my pick for POY through the first 10 games of NEC play was a surprise to anyone. I don't think my pick for the ROY in the conference will be either, as it's also a pretty lopsided affair.
Marcquise Reed - Freshman guard - Robert Morris Colonials
The recipient of five NEC Rookie of the Week awards thus far, Reed isn't just making a strong case for ROY, but has a very good chance of making an all-conference team as a freshman. That's no small feat for a true freshman. With that said, the reality is that Reed is playing well beyond his years.
His 120.5 offensive rating in 10 NEC games ranks him 6th in the conference, but ranks 1st among guards depending on how you want to classify Bryant's Joe O'Shea. Reed also ranks in the top-5 in several other key offensive metrics: 16.3 ppg (3rd), 59.3 eFG% (5th), 65 TS% (1st), 53.8 FG% (5th), and 90.2 FT% (3rd).
If you've gotten a chance to watch Reed play, you know that the numbers certainly support how efficient he is on the offensive end. Reed has a plethora of moves that makes him a very tough guard: a floater just outside the restricted area that's more of a one-handed shot, a stop-and-pop jumper from roughly the same area that can also extend just below or above the free throw line, a very accurate three-ball that's the product of good spacing on the floor and with his use (hides behind) a screener.
He's extremely good off the bounce, can drive both ways, and finish with both hands. He picks his spots from deep and at the rim, and has supreme confidence creating inside the three-point line. Despite 51.2% of his attempts being two-point jumpers, Reed has only been assisted on 12.9% of those. Again, that speaks to the variety of offensive moves he has, and more importantly, makes.
Lastly, Reed isn't limited to just creating for himself. His 20.4% assist percentage (all games) ranks in the top-10 in the NEC. He also leads the conference in usage percentage at 29.5% (all games), which doesn't surprise some as he's often takes over point guards duties when Kavon Stewart is on the bench.
While head coach Andy Toole will tell you that he has room to grow on the defensive end, mostly intensity and maturity, Reed is leading the NEC in steal percentage at 4.2% (all games) and his 1.7 spg are tied for 3rd. He's an extremely long player, and when engaged, he is capable of denying entry passes into the high post and disrupting driving and passing lanes.
What mostly stands out about Reed is his poise. Turn on the game at the North Carolina Tar Heels from 11/16, Reed's second career game, and you'll see a player who is unfazed. The same can be said about his performance at the Clemson Tigers at the end of last year. I am sure anyone who attended the game against the Mount St. Mary's Mountaineers last month will tell you how poised Reed is.
In my opinion, this is Reed's award to lose at the moment. That doesn't mean there aren't players who are right on his heels: FDU's Marques Townes, LIU's Nura Zanna, and SHU's Cane Broome just to name a few. If Reed does make all-conference this season, he'd be the first freshman to accomplish the feat in over a decade. There's no reason to think it's not within his grasp if he keeps playing like he is. The only question might be if he deserves a spot among the First-Team All-NEC performers.
- Stats courtesy of Hoops-Math, Sports-Reference, and Stat-Sheet.