WEST HARTFORD, Conn. – The postseason awards continue to roll in for the University of Saint Joseph (USJ) men’s basketball team, as head coach Jim Calhoun, along with associate head coach Glen Miller, were named the D3hoops.com Northeast Region Coach of the Year, announced on Tuesday afternoon in a D3hoops.com All-Region Team press release. Additionally, sophomore guards Jaecee Martin (Hartford, Conn.) and Delshawn Jackson Jr. (Hartford, Conn.) received All-Northeast Region Second and Third Team honors, respectively. USJ was one of just three programs in the Northeast to have two student-athletes earn all-region honors and Martin and Jackson Jr. were the only underclassmen.
The regional Coach of the Year award recognizes the top coach (or in this case coaches) in each region, while D3hoops.com also names a regional Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year, in addition to the All-Region teams. The regions include Northeast, East, Atlantic, Mid-Atlantic, South, Great Lakes, Central and West. Regions that have fewer than 40 Division III teams have two All-Region teams, while the Northeast, which is near twice the size of all other regions, has four teams. All other regions currently have three.
The hall of famer and three-time national champion, Jim Calhoun, completed a storybook second season as head coach of the Blue Jays, leading the team to an unprecedented 26-3 season, including 25 straight wins, one of the longest streaks in all of Division III basketball in 2019-20. Men’s Basketball, which was ranked number 14in the country by D3Hoops.com at season’s end, won its first Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Championship in a highly-anticipated rematch with intrastate rival, Albertus Magnus College, 88-84. The Blue Jays went on to face Hobart College in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, before dropping a nail-biter, 78-74. Calhoun and Miller have comprised a two-year record of 42-15, making the conference championship twice in the first two years in the history of the program. The Blue Jays were also top-five in the nation in several statistical categories, including scoring margin, winning by an average of nearly 20 points per game. Miller, a former player and longtime assistant coach of Calhoun’s, was also recognized for his role in this history-making season. The dynamic duo was also assisted by Rashamel Jones, Jeff Calhoun and Ryan Olander.
Martin, an All-Northeast Region Second Team selection, took the GNAC by storm in 2019-20, scoring 26 points (10-12 FG) in just his second career game, a 76-63 win over Bates on December 19. ‘JC’ would go on to lead the GNAC in assists per game at 7.7 per contest (he would’ve led the nation if he played enough games). No other player in the conference averaged more than five. He also led the conference at nearly three steals per game, often roaming off his man to deflect passes, and strip players who had little time to react to his unmatched quickness. Before JC’s arrival, no player in men’s basketball history had ever recorded more than eight assists in a game. JC had 12 assists in a game six times. His sensational play this year earned him the 2019-20 GNAC Defensive Player of the Year, and a spot on the All-GNAC First team, joining his wingman, Jackson Jr.
‘DJ’, the defending Northeast Region Rookie of the Year (the first male regional award in school history) and GNAC Rookie of the Year, made the All-Northeast Region Third Team in 2019-20. Jackson Jr. put the team on his back as he embarked on the greatest single-game performance in program history, scoring a school-record 46 points in a thrilling 88-84 win over Albertus Magnus in the GNAC Championship rematch. Jackson Jr. was named the MVP of the GNAC Tournament. He was top-five in the conference this season at 22 points per game. He averaged 41 points per game against Albertus Magnus, breaking the program record for points in a game each time (36, 46). The Blue Jays won both meetings. Jackson Jr. was also one of the best free-throw shooters in the GNAC (84%), and hit the third-most three-pointers (82), many of them with the game on the line.