WASHINGTON — VCU junior guard Ace Baldwin, Jr. was named the Atlantic 10 Conference Men’s Basketball Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year as the league announced its awards today in advance of the 2023 Men’s Basketball Championship, which begins Tuesday at Barclays Center. First year Fordham bench boss Keith Urgo was voted A-10 Coach of the Year.
Standout George Washington freshman guard Maximus Edwards was selected as A-10 Rookie of the Year, and his teammate, graduate student guard Brendan Adams was chosen as the Chris Daniels Most Improved Player. The Sixth Man of the Year award went to La Salle senior guard Josh Nickelberry.
The major awards, the three six-member All-Conference teams, and the All-Defensive and All-Rookie teams were nominated and voted on by the conference’s 15 head coaches. The men's basketball communications directors selected the five-member All-Academic team.
Baldwin becomes the fourth player to win Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year in the same season. He joins UMass’ Stephane Lasme (2006-07), David West of Xavier (2001-02) and Temple’s Pepe Sanchez (1999-00). Baldwin leads VCU in scoring with 12.6 points per game and he also dishes out 5.8 assists per game (15th national, second in the A-10) and has a total of 151 assists this year, good for third in the league. A Baltimore native, he also ranks seventh nationally and leads the A-10 with 2.46 per game. He totals 64 steals, which ranks second in the A-10. He was also named to the All-Conference First Team and the All-Defensive Team.
Urgo led Fordham to is best-ever A-10 record at 12-6 and a tie for second place, Fordham’s highest-ever finish in league play. The Rams also finished at 24-7 overall, the best record in the league and the most wins for the Rose Hill team since 1990-91 season. Under his direction, Fordham leads the league in blocks per game (4.8), free throw percentage (75.1) and free throws made (16.5) and top five in the A-10 in 14 other categories.
Edwards ranked third at GW in scoring with 10.7 points per game and had 18 double-digit scoring games this season. and second in rebounding with 6.6 per game. Hailing from Stratford, Conn., he is a five-time A-10 Rookie of the Week honoree, who ranks in the top 10 in the conference in three different categories. He also was selected for the All-Rookie Team.
Adams was second in scoring at GW with 17.5 points per game, which ranks fifth in the league. A transfer from UConn, who hails from Baltimore, he also led the Colonials in free throw shooting at 83.1 percent. An A-10 Player of the Week selection once this season, Adams was also named to the All-Conference Third Team and the All-Academic Team.
A product of Fayetteville, N.C., Nickelberry came off the bench to hit on a team-high 40.3 percent (75-of-186) of his 3-point attempts en route to contributing a team second-best 11.6 points per game. Nickelberry also serves as the league's fifth-best 3-point shooter, sinking 75 shots from beyond the arc on the year.
Joining Baldwin on the All-Conference First Team were Dayton’s Toumani Camara and DaRon Holmes II, Josh Oduro (George Mason), James Bishop IV (George Washington) and Yuri Collins (Saint Louis).
The All-Conference second team consisted of Foster Loyer (Davidson), Dae Dae Grant (Duquesne), Darius Quisenberry (Fordham), Tyler Burton (Richmond), Erik Reynolds II (Saint Joseph’s) and Gibson Jimerson (Saint Louis).
Sam Mennenga (Davidson), Khalid Moore (Fordham), Daryl Banks III (St. Bonaventure) and VCU’s Jalen DeLoach and Brandon Johns Jr., joined Adams on the All-Conference Third Team.
Jimerson, Adams, Loyer, Matt Grace (Richmond) and Victor Bailey, Jr. (George Mason) were named to the All-Academic team.
Camara, Holmes, Collins, Baldwin Jimmy Clark III (Duquesne) and Kyle Rose (Fordham) were all voted to the All-Defensive team. Mike Sharavjamts (Dayton), Ben Schwieger (Loyola Chicago), RJ Luis (Massachusetts) and Yann Farell (St. Bonaventure) Edwards on the All-Rookie team.