SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- Canisius guard Billy Baron, the rock-steady force behind the program's rise from the depths, this evening was named the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Player of the Year during award festivities at the Basketball Hall of Fame.
Baron is the first Griff since Darrell Barley in 1996 to receive the honor and the third overall. Craig Wise was the MAAC's top player in 1995.
A two-time first-team all-MAAC selection, Baron is the nation's No. 3 scorer at 24.4 points per game and ranks among the national top 20 in 12 statistical categories, including No. 2 in minutes played. He has averaged 25.7 points, 6 assists and 5.1 rebounds against MAAC opponents while shooting 48.1 percent from the field and 87 perfect from the foul line.
Meanwhile, on the women's side, Niagara's Victoria Rampado, a 6-foot-2 forward from Niagara Falls, Ont., was named the conference's Rookie of the Year. She averaged 8.9 points and 5.4 rebounds.
Baron is also a finalist for the Bob Cousy Award that goes to the nation's premier point guard and is a nominee for the Lute Olsen Award given to the top guard at the mid-major level.
Canisius, the No. 4 seed in the MAAC Tournament, plays Siena in a MAAC Tournament quarterfinal at 2:30 Saturday afternoon.
Other MAAC individual awards went to:
Men: Coach: Tim Cluess, Iona. Sixth Man: Maurice Barrow, Fairfield. Defensive: Rhamel Brown, Manhattan (three-time winner). Top Rookie: Khallid Hart, Marist.
Women: Coach: Billi Godsey, Iona. Player: Damika Martinez, Iona. Sixth Man: Aaliyah Robinson, Iona. Defensive: Leanne Ockenden, Marist.
-- Jerry Sullivan and Bob DiCesare