2011 NCAA DIII Tournament
2010 NCAA DIII Tournament Appearance
2010-11 Skyline Conference Player of the Year
2009-10 Skyline Conference Player of the Year
2010-11 All-Skyline Selections Billups, Mike McNair
2009-2010 All-Skyline Selections Billups, Corey Orgias
2009-10 D3Hoops.com All-Atlantic Region Coach of the Year
2009-10 D3Hoops All-Atlantic 1st Team Marvin Billups
2009-10 All-Met Coach of the Year Jeff Charney
2009-10 All-Met First Team
2009-10 ECAC ALL-STAR 1st Team Marvin Billups
DIII News Coach of the Month
Eastern Connecticut Tip-Off MVP
All Tournament Team: Billups, Mike McNair, Elliot Watson
1,000-PT Scorer Marvin Billups (2010)
1,000-PT Scorer Michael McNair (2011)
2011 NABC All-District 1st Team
2011 State Farm Coaches' Second Team All-America
2010-11 ECAC ALL-STAR 1st Team Marvin Billups
2010-11 All-Met First Team Marvin Billups
DIII All-Star Marvin Billups
Purchase, NY (Mar. 12, 2011) – Talk about a second act.
It’s not easy to follow up the greatest season in Purchase College men’s basketball history with something better, but the Panthers managed to do just that in 2010-11. For an encore, the Panthers and their supreme nine seniors won back-to-back Skyline Conference titles, clinching consecutive NCAA DIII Tournament appearances in the process. And although they came up short in the first round of March Madness a year ago, Purchase won its tourney opener this March, downing Hartwick 79-69 to advance to the second round – another first in program history.
Up big in the first half, the Panthers were edged by Cabrini in the second round as the regional host pulled a comeback. Nonetheless, Purchase completed the greatest season in college history by going 24-5 overall – an improvement on last year’s 20-9 overall showing.
Highlights were abounding. The Panthers were the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament, won the league title in a thrilling 81-66 victory over SJC-LI before the largest home crowd in history and then followed that win with the program’s first-ever NCAA tourney victory – in the same season that the Panthers also played at Madison Square Garden and won the Eastern Connecticut Tip-Off Championship.
Purchase went 17-3 in conference play during the regular season – one that was filled with highlight win after highlight win, including 14 straight victories leading up to its second-round defeat in “The Big Dance.”
It was a happy ending for arguably the greatest recruiting class in Purchase history and perhaps Skyline Conference history. Sadly, the Panthers say goodbye to a senior group of nine players, including tri-captains Marvin Billups, Corey Orgias and John Simmons.
Billups added to his trophy collection this winter, garnering back-to-back Skyline Player of the Year honors. He was later named to the D3 All-Star Game. Billups graduates this May as the most honored athlete in program history. The Panthers will sorely miss the captain trio and fellow seniors Justin Walters, Angel Gonzalez, Maurice Richardson, Kevin Major, Jr., Charles Thompson and Michael McNair, who was named Skyline Tournament Most Valuable Player after leading the Panthers with 23 points in the conference championship. McNair was later named to the All-Skyline 2nd Team.
Although the Panthers return only two players from the championship roster in reserve guard Derrick Stanton and Beijon Warrington, both were solid contributors during this year’s run and are expected to shoulder even more of the load in 2011-12.
One thing’s for sure: The foundation of a winning program is set at Purchase.
-Bobby Ciafardini, SID