WALTHAM, Mass. - Four members of the Brandeis University men's basketball team have earned All-University Athletic Association (UAA) honors. Graduate student Steve DeLuca of Merrimack, N.H., earned first-team honors for the third time in his career, while senior guard Kevin Olson of Rockport, Mass., and junior guards Kenny Small of Stratford, Conn., and Andre Roberson of Springfield, Mass., all earned second-team honors for the first time.
DeLuca, a two-time d3hoops.com pre-season All-American, was a first-team All-UAA selection in 2006 and 2007 before missing the 2008 season to injury. Granted an additional year of eligibility, DeLuca returned to the Judges' line-up to lead the team in scoring and rebounding for the third time, averaging 15.2 points and 6.8 rebounds per game, sixth and second in the UAA, respectively. DeLuca led the Judges in scoring 10 times this season and in rebounding 14 times in 25 games. Headed into the NCAA Division III tournament, DeLuca stands sixth on Brandeis's career scoring list with 1,558 points, 30 points out of the top five. He will tie the Judges' career record with his 104th start in the first round against Scranton and can tie two others with 107 games played if the team reaches the Sweet 16.
Olson is a sharpshooting guard who averages 12.7 points per game. He is the top 3-point shooter in all NCAA Divisions, connecting on 59.7 percent from beyond the arc (80-134), while also ranking 21st in Division III in 3-pointers per game, averaging 3.2 trifectas per contest. His 3-point percentage is on pace to be the sixth-highest in Division III history, 12th in all NCAA Divisions and the best percentage since 1995. Olson's numbers in UAA games are even better, as he hit on 65 percent (52-80) from beyond the arc, while hitting 59.8 percent (67-112) overall in Association games. Olson was the Judges' leading scorer six times this season. For his career, Olson has 905 career points and tops Brandeis's career free-throw percentage (84.4%) and 3-point percentage lists (46.1%).
Small, who came off the bench for the first three-quarters of the season, was the Judges' third-leading scorer, averaging 11.3 points per game. He led Brandeis in scoring four times, improving his career scoring high each time, highlighted by 24 points in Brandeis's regular-season finale against Case Western Reserve University, a game which the Judges won, 108-78, by shooting a UAA record 73.1% from the field. Small, who averaged 13.8 points per game in UAA contests, scored in double figures in his last six games and 13 out of the Judges' last 15. Small also led the team in free-throw shooting, connecting on 84.1% from the line (58-69) to finish second in the UAA.
Roberson was the fourth Brandeis player to average in double figures this season, scoring 10.4 points per game. He also led the squad in assists (4.7 apg) and steals (1.5 spg), finishing fourth and second in the UAA, respectively. He led the team in scoring three times, assists 15 times and steals 11 times. Roberson also finished second on the team an sixth in the UAA in free-throw shooting (79.6%) and in minutes per game (32.4 mpg). He recorded his second collegiate double-double with 14 points and 10 assists in a 90-81 loss at Chicago on Feb. 6, and registered his third career 10-assist game in the regular-season finale against NYU on Feb. 28, a 63-44 win.
The Brandeis men's basketball team opened the 2008-09 season ranked No. 9 in the nation according to d3hoops.com. A rough start dropped them out of the rankings, but the Judges won 17 of their last 22 contests to finish at 17-8, 10-4 in the UAA, good for second place for the second year in a row. Thanks to the 11th-most-difficult schedule in the nation, as calculated by d3hoops.com, including wins over five other regionally-ranked teams, the Judges earned their third-straight at-large berth to the NCAA tournament, the longest streak in school history.
Head coach Brian Meehan (sixth season at Brandeis, 95-61 record; 13th season, 255-100 overall) has led his teams to nine NCAA tournament berths, including the Final Four in 2000 as head coach of Salem State College. He guided Brandeis to a school-record 23 wins last season, reaching the Elite Eight of the Big Dance. With 74 wins over the last four seasons, the Judges are in the midst of the winningest four years in school history. Brandeis meets the University of Scranton in the first round of the tournament in a game played at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa., Friday night at 6 p.m.
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