Honors Abound for Men's Basketball TeamFebruary 23, 2023
In a campaign for the record books, SUNY Orange’s men’s basketball team finished the 2022-23 regular season ranked fourth in the nation in National Junior College Athletic Association Division II with an unblemished 27-0 record.
That performance garnered head coach Tom Rickard “Coach of the Year” honors in Region XV. Additionally, sophomore Romeo Aquino (Newburgh, N.Y.) was named Region XV “Player of the Year” while classmates Darius Boben (Highland Falls, N.Y.) and Kevin Stein (Chester, N.Y.) were named to the Region XV First Team all-star team. Freshman George Patsalos (New Windsor, N.Y.) was named to the region’s “Sportsmanship Team.”
The Colts, who have a decidedly Orange County feel with their top seven players all hailing from the county, have been ranked as high as second in the country (during the holidays) and have settled in a number four over the past few weeks. Rickard picked up his 200th career coaching win at SUNY Orange on Feb. 14 when the Colts defeated Dutchess 106-79.
Aquino, who surpassed 1,000 career points earlier this season, is averaging a double-double for the season. He leads the nation in scoring at 24.7 points per game and ranks 16th in rebounding at 10.1 per game.
Boben is the only player in SUNY Orange history to have scored more than 40 points twice in his career, including his 42 points against Rockland on Feb. 7.
As a team, the Colts rank among the top three nationally in scoring (100.3 points per game, 2nd) rebounding (49.5 rebounds per game, 2nd) assists (22.8 assists per game, 3rd), and steals (12.5 steals per game, 3rd).
In addition to Aquino, four other players score at least 10 points per game, including Boben (16.8 ppg.), Stein (16.6 ppg.), Keon Gill (12.1 ppg.) and Tim Linton (11.6 ppg.). Patsalos is second on the team in rebounding (8.0 per game) while Linton (Middletown, N.Y.) is third at 7.2 per contest.
Jared Smalls (Middletown, N.Y.) ranks ninth nationally at 6.2 assists per game, while Stein is close behind at 5.8 assists per game to rank 12th in the country. Keon Gill (Middletown, N.Y.) leads the team at 2.8 steals per game to rank 12th nationally and Boben is 17th, averaging 2.6 steals per game.
SUJY Orange will host the Region XV Tournament this weekend (Feb. 24-25). Sullivan and Westchester will play in the first game of a doubleheader at Noon on Saturday at the Physical Education Center in Middletown, with the host Colts challenging Rockland at 2:30 p.m. The championship game will be held on Sunday.