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MAAC preseason awards: Can Rickey McGill lead Iona to its fourth straight tournament bid?

McGill is our preseason player of the year.

Iona v Oregon Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The MAAC picture may be unclear heading into the year — other than Rider at the top, there’s a whole lot of room for debate — but we do know the players who will make the biggest impact this season. For example, if Iona is gong to make the NCAA Tournament yet again, it will do so on the back of senior guard Rickey McGill. Rider has several capable players who will take charge at points throughout the season, and the same could be said for Canisius.

Here’s where things stand heading into the 2018-19 season:

Player of the Year:

G Rickey McGill, Iona, Senior

Rickey McGill had a standout year last year for the Gaels, scoring 457 points, averaging better than 13 a game, and earning a spot on the all-MAAC Second Team. McGill played in 34 games for Iona and had his biggest performance of the year when he dropped 40 points on Rider in the regular season finale. McGill also placed second in the conference in assists with 5.6 per game. Defensively, he ranked in the top 10 for steals with 52 on the year. Barring an unforeseen injury, McGill will have a chance to lead Iona to a fourth straight NCAA Tournament bid.

Newcomer of the Year:

G Jordan Henderson, Canisius, Freshman

Jordan Henderson is entering his first year in college basketball following one season at Indiana Elite Prep. During that season, he averaged 19 points, seven rebounds, and five assists per game. He also shot 41 percent from three and helped Indiana Prep earn a 36-15 record. Although Division I basketball is different from Prep play, Henderson should be able to help the Golden Griffs during the season behind the play of Isaiah Reese and Takal Molson.

Darkhorse Team: Niagara

The Eagles led the conference last year in points per game with 83.3 and averaged 39 rebounds per game as well. The main issue with the Eagles repeating their success is the loss of both of their leading scorers in Khalil Dukes and Matt Scott. But they will have a substantial lead scorer in Marvin Prochet. If the younger players such as James Towns and Keleaf Tate can help Prochet out, we will most likely see a continuation of the Purple Eagles’ success.

All-MAAC First Team:

G Rickey McGill, Senior, Iona
F Pauly Paulicap, Junior, Manhattan
F Marvin Prochet, Senior, Niagara
G Isaiah Reese, Sophomore, Canisius
C Tyere Marshall, Junior, Rider

All-MAAC Second Team:

G Stevie Jordan, Junior, Rider
G/F Dimencio Vaughn, Redshirt Sophomore, Rider
G Takal Molson, Sophomore, Canisius
F Dominic Robb, Senior, Niagara
G Thomas Capuano, Senior, Manhattan