Williams Named NJAC Men's Basketball Rookie of the Year; Fiore Coach of the Year

Montclair, NJ (2/28/08) – Enjoying its best season in the last five years, the Montclair State men’s basketball team picked up several accolades as the NJAC released its 2008 All-Conference Team on Thursday. Freshman guard James Williams ( Englewood, NJ / Dwight Morrow) was named the Rookie of the Year while sophomore guard Ken Dudley ( Willingboro, NJ / Burlington Tech) was named to the Second Team. Head coach Ted Fiore was chosen as the John K. Adams Coach of the Year.  

All three played a key role in helping the Red Hawks to a current 16-10 record and berth in the NJAC Tournament semifinals. Montclair was picked to finish fifth in the NJAC North Division this season, but went 8-5 in league play and came within three points of finishing second in the division.  

Williams becomes the second straight MSU player to win NJAC Rookie of the Year honors and the third in the last six years. The freshman guard, a four-time NJAC Rookie of the Week selection, leads Montclair in scoring at 13.3 points per game and is ranked ninth in the conference in that category. In addition, Williams is also averaging just over three rebounds per game and shooting 46 percent (15th in the league) from the field and 77 percent (fifth in the NJAC) at the foul line. He has 47 assists and 34 steals as well.

Williams scored 14 points in his collegiate debut and had hit double figures in all but six games this season. Named to the Naismith Classic All-Tournament Team in January, Williams was key for Montclair State during the stretch run of the regular season as he averaged over 20 points per game in the final four contests. He then had 17 points in MSU’s 83-72 win over Rowan in the opening round of the NJAC Tournament on Tuesday.  

Dudley is second to Williams on the team in scoring at 10.7 points per game and has handed out a team-best 90 assists while also registering 36 steals. In addition, Dudley has been a standout defensive player, drawing the opposition’s top scorer each game. He leads the NJAC in assists and is second in the conference in assist/turnover ratio (1.48). Dudley earned NJAC Player of the Week honors on February 4 as he helped MSU to wins over Ramapo and Rutgers-Camden. He scored a career-high 25 points in the win against the Roadrunners and then hit the game-winning free throws woth three seconds remaining as Montclair edged the Scarlet Raptors, 75-73.  

Fiore picked up his second NJAC Coach of the Year honor as the long-time coach was also honored in 2000 when MSU captured the ECAC Championship. Now in his 10th season at Montclair State, Fiore has posted a record of 150-96 with the Red Hawks, which includes the 2002 NJAC regular-season title and the conference crown in 2003 as Montclair advanced to the NCAA Division III “Sweet 16”. Overall, Fiore is in his 19th season as a head coach and has compiled a 301-206 mark. Fiore reached the 300-win mark against New Jersey City on February 20, a win that put the Red Hawks into the NJAC Tournament for the first time since 2005.