Delaware Valley College’s run to the upcoming Freedom Conference Championship Game did not go unrecognized by the league coaches as the Aggies took home all three major awards.
Senior forward/center Jeremy Beckett (Reading, PA/Holy Name) was named the Freedom Player of the Year while freshman guard Zach Sly (St. Petersburg, FL/Faith Baptist Christian) was selected as the Rookie of the Year. Casey Stitzel was voted the Coach of the Year for the second time in the last three years.
In addition, senior forward Daulton Derr (York, PA/Eastern York) picked up second-team, all-conference honors for the first time in his career.
Beckett became just the second player in Delaware Valley men’s basketball history to earn the top individual honor in the conference (former teammate James Jones was the first in 2011). He is currently ranked in the Freedom’s top 10 in five separate categories, including blocked shots where he is first with 2.5 rejections per game. He is also second in both scoring (16.2 avg) and rebounding (10.8 avg), seventh in steals (1.5 avg) and ninth in field goal percentage (.471).
Beckett, a two-time all-Freedom second-team pick in 2011 and 2012, is tied for fifth in all of Division III with 16 double-doubles in 26 contests. He has reached double digits in scoring in all but three games, including seven performances of 20 or more points. For his career, Beckett is the Aggies’ leader in blocked shots with 252. He is also fourth all-time in rebounds with 944 and seventh in scoring with 1,434 points. He needs two more points to move past Isaiah Pinckney (2003-07) for the sixth position.
Sly has started 24 of 26 games this year and his all-around play had the biggest impact among freshmen in the conference. He is averaging 8.5 points per game and is ranked eighth in the Freedom in assists (2.6 avg) and ninth in both steals (1.4 avg) and free throw percentage (.682). He has reached double digits in scoring eight times, including five against conference foes.
Derr, who transferred to Delaware Valley prior to last season, is sixth in the Freedom in scoring with 13.9 points per game and has reached double digits in 19 of the 25 games he has played in. He is also ninth in blocked shots (0.6 avg) and 10th in both 3-point percentage (.369) and 3-pointers per game (1.5 avg).
Stitzel took over the Delaware Valley program five years ago after the squad had gone 3-22 overall and 0-12 in the Freedom. Since then, he has led the Aggies to 67 wins, three conference tournament appearances (the team had one prior appearance in its entire history), two trips to the Freedom title game and the 2011 conference championship and NCAA bid.
Delaware Valley, which was coming off a nine-win season and was picked fifth in the preseason poll, set a school records in the regular season for both overall wins (17-8) and Freedom wins (11-3). The Aggies finished second in the standings and opened the Freedom tournament with a 65-49 home triumph over defending champion Misericordia University. The win put Stitzel and his squad into Saturday’s Freedom Conference Championship Game at top-seeded DeSales University (1:00 p.m.)