South Paris freshman gains America East basketball recognition

Posted Feb. 27, 2017, at 3:49 p.m.
Last modified Feb. 27, 2017, at 4:55 p.m.

Andrew Fleming was a bright spot this season on a struggling University of Maine men’s basketball team.

On Monday, the freshman from South Paris was the only Black Bear recognized for his contributions on the court when he was named to the America East All-Rookie Team.

The 6-foot-7 forward, who starred at Oxford Hills High School, bounced back after a significant ankle injury early in the season to become one of UMaine’s most consistent presences.

“He’s a talented, tough kid, but he’s also got a great mentality,” said UMaine head coach Bob Walsh. “With him, it’s what can I do better each day to help the team. We’re going to rely on him for a lot in the next three years.

Walsh said Fleming’s versatility is one of the key dynamics in his success as a freshman.

Fleming averaged 10.5 points and 6.6 rebounds while shooting 47 percent from the field (105-for-226). He also registered 19 blocked shots and 18 steals and was a 64-percent free-throw shooter.

“When he’s really been good, he’s knocked down jump shots, which is something he did a nice job of in high school,” Walsh added. “He can take a bigger guy out on the perimeter or he can take a smaller guy inside.”

UMaine sophomore guard Ryan Bernstein was lauded for his academic excellence as he was one of seven members of the America East All-Academic Team.

Bernstein holds a 3.47 grade point average while studying mass communication.

“You win with kids like Boz,” Walsh said. “He’s a high-achieving kid, a great student, a great teammate, a great competitor. It’s terrific to see him get a reward like that.”

The University of Vermont, which achieved an America East first by winning all 16 of its conference games, swept the major league awards announced on Monday afternoon.

Junior guard Trae Bell-Haynes was selected as the Kevin Roberson Player of the Year, senior guard Dre Wills was named the Defensive Player of the Year and freshman guard Anthony Lamb was tabbed the Rookie of the Year. Also, senior forward Darren Payen was recognized as the Sixth Man of the Year and John Becker was chosen the Coach of the Year.

The All-America East First Team consists of David Nichols of Albany, Jahad Thomas of UMass Lowell, Tanner Leissner of New Hampshire, Lucas Woodhouse of Stony Brook and Bell-Haynes.

Second-team picks include Joe Cremo of Albany, Will Darley and Jairus Lyles of Maryland Baltimore County, Jaleen Smith of UNH and Vermont’s Lamb. The third team is made up of Jalen Ross of Hartford, Daniel Dion of UNH, Stony Brook’s Tyrell Sturdivant and Ernie Duncan and Payton Henson of Vermont.

The All-Defensive Team includes Devonte Campbell of Albany, Thomas Bruce of Binghamton, K.J. Maura of UMBC, Roland Nyama of Stony Brook and Wills, who is a three-time selection.

Joining Fleming on the All-Rookie contingent are Arkel Lamar of UMBC, Rinardo Perry of UMass Lowell, Akwasi Yeboah of Stony Brook and Lamb.

Bernstein’s co-winners on the All-Academic squad are Cremo, David Nichols and Mike Rowley of Albany, Binghamton’s John Rinaldi, Joe Sherburne of UMBC and Bryan Sekunda of Stony Brook.

Eighth-seeded Maine will visit No. 1 Vermont in an America East quarterfinal at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

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