LEWISBURG, Pa. – The Bucknell men’s basketball team just won the Patriot League regular-season title by three games over the rest of the pack, so it stood to reason that the Bison would be handsomely rewarded in the 2017 all-league balloting. That notion was realized on Monday, when four players were named to All-Patriot League Teams, including junior center Nana Foulland, who became the second player in league history to sweep the Patriot League Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year honors.
Foulland and junior forward Zach Thomas were both First Team All-Patriot League selections. Junior guard Stephen Brown was named to the Second Team, and sophomore guard Kimbal Mackenzie was a Third Team honoree. In addition, Foulland and Brown were both named to the Patriot League All-Defensive Team, and Nathan Davis garnered Patriot League Coach of the Year honors for the second year in a row.
Bucknell’s four all-conference selections were its most since 2012, when Mike Muscala, Bryan Cohen, Cameron Ayers and Joe Willman were all honored. The Bison have now garnered at least one first team all-league selection in 31 of the last 34 years, dating back to its days as a member of the East Coast Conference. This was the first time Bucknell had two first-teamers since 2013 (Muscala and Ayers).
Foulland is in the midst of an outstanding junior campaign, and his First Team All-Patriot League selection comes after a Second Team nod last year. Foulland ranks 13th nationally in field-goal percentage (.625), and he leads the Patriot League in blocked shots at 1.9 per game. Foulland also ranks second in the league in rebounding (7.9) and eighth in scoring (14.8).
Foulland has 10 double-doubles and six 20-point games this season. Perhaps his best game of year came in a title-clinching 20-point win at Boston University on Feb. 19, when he tallied 20 points, six rebounds, four assists and six blocked shots.
Foulland has also made tremendous strides at the defensive end of the floor. The only other Patriot League player to earn Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year honors in the same season was another Bison center, Muscala, who did it in 2013.
Thomas earned all-league honors for the first time in his career. He has been one of the league’s top-all-around players this season, filling up all columns of the stat sheet on a nightly basis. He is the only player in the league ranked in the top 10 in scoring (3rd, 15.9), rebounding (6th, 6.6) and assists (10th, 3.3). He is also the league’s only player ranked in the top 10 in all three shooting categories: field-goal percentage (9th, .479), free-throw percentage (2nd, .821) and 3-point percentage (4th, .423).
Thomas has five double-doubles and seven 20-point games this season. He posted a career-high 27 points on only nine field-goal attempts in a win over Holy Cross on Feb. 7, and he has failed to score in double figures only twice all season.
Bucknell is the Patriot League’s highest-scoring team at 76.1 points per game, and Brown has been the engine behind that efficient offense. He ranks second in the league in assists at 4.8 per game, and his assist/turnover ratio of 2.6 leads the league and ranks 38th among all Division I players. That figure is even better in league games (2.8), where he has 88 assists and only 31 turnovers in 18 games. Brown now ranks eighth on Bucknell’s all-time list with 356 assists in his career.
Brown has also upped his scoring and 3-point accuracy this season. He is averaging 10.8 points per game, and this will be the first year of his career averaging in double figures. He is also shooting a career-best 40.8 percent from long range, the eighth-best mark in the league.
Brown earned his second straight All-Defensive Team citation. He ranks 10th in the league in steals at 1.6 per game.
Mackenzie has been one of the league’s most improved players this season, jumping from a reserve role as a freshman to a prominent starting spot this season. Mackenzie averages 11.4 points per game on the season, a figure that ramps up to 13.4 ppg in league play. He is shooting 47.0 percent from the field, 40.3 percent from 3-point range and 81.4 percent from the foul line. He scored a career-high 25 points in a good home win over Richmond, and he added three more 20-point efforts against Patriot League rivals.
Davis’ second straight Patriot League Coach of the Year selection actually gives Bucknell the last three honors, as Dave Paulsen earned the award in his final season in 2015. He is the fourth coach to win the honor in back-to-back seasons, joining Paulsen (2011, 2012), Lehigh’s Billy Taylor (2003, 2004) and Lafayette’s Fran O’Hanlon (1998, 1999). Davis and Taylor are the only two to do so in his first two seasons with a team.
Davis already has 40 wins as Bucknell’s head coach, which is the most in the first two seasons in school history by a wide margin. After leading his team to a 15-3 Patriot League record this season, he is 29-7 against league foes since returning to the Bison sideline.
Bucknell has now had the Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year in seven of the 13 years since the award was instituted in 2005.
Foulland and Thomas were joined on the All-Patriot League First Team by Boston University’s Eric Fanning, Loyola’s Andre Walker, and Lehigh’s Tim Kempton, who had won the previous two PL Player of the Year honors.
The Second Team consisted of Brown, Boston University’s Justin Alston, Lehigh’s Kahron Ross, Loyola’s Jarred Jones, and Navy’s Shawn Anderson. On the Third Team were Mackenzie, Holy Cross’ Malachi Alexander, Lehigh’s Austin Price, and Lafayette’s Matt Klinewski and Nick Lindner.
Foulland and Brown were joined by Alexander, American’s Charlie Jones, and Navy’s Bryce Dulin on the All-Defensive Team.
The Patriot League All-Rookie Team consisted of American’s Sa’eed Nelson and Mark Gasperini, Army’s Tommy Funk, Boston University’s Tyler Scanlon, and Colgate’s Will Rayman. Rayman was named the league’s Rookie of the Year.
Now 23-8 overall and 15-3 in the Patriot League, Bucknell will be the No. 1 seed in the Patriot League Tournament. The Bison will host a quarterfinal game this Thursday against either eighth-seeded Army West Point or ninth-seeded American. Tip-off will be 7 p.m. on PatriotLeague.TV.
2016-17 Men’s Basketball All-Patriot League Team and Major Awards
Player of the Year: Nana Foulland, Bucknell (Jr., C)
Defensive Player of the Year: Nana Foulland, Bucknell (Jr., C)
Rookie of the Year: Will Rayman, Colgate (Fr., F)
Coach of the Year: Nathan Davis, Bucknell
Second-Team All-Patriot League
Justin Alston, Boston University (Sr., F)
Stephen Brown, Bucknell (Jr., G)
Kahron Ross, Lehigh (Jr., G)
Jarred Jones, Loyola Maryland (Sr., F)
Shawn Anderson, Navy (Jr., G)
Third-Team All-Patriot League
Kimbal Mackenzie, Bucknell (So., G)
Malachi Alexander, Holy Cross (Sr., F)
Matt Klinewski, Lafayette (Jr., F)
Nick Lindner, Lafayette (Sr. G)
Austin Price, Lehigh (Sr., G)
Sa’eed Nelson, American (Fr., G)
Mark Gasperini, American (Fr., F)
Tommy Funk, Army West Point (Fr., G)
Tyler Scanlon, Boston University (Fr., F)
Will Rayman, Colgate (Fr., F)