It was announced Friday afternoon by Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference that three Wilmington University players or staff had been named for the yearly awards or the All-Conference selections for the 2016-17 season. The Wildcats that were honored were Tyaire Ponzo-Meek ( Player of The Year, All First Conference Team), Nick Richards ( All Second Conference team), and Head Coach Dan Burke ( CACC Head Coach Of The Year).
It should surprise no one that Wilmington was honored so much this year by the CACC, after having one of the best seasons in years and earning a home playoff game.
These honors for Wilmington brought a lot first for the school, including the first time a Wildcat player has taken home the Player Of the Year. Also, this marks the first time a Wilmington Head coach was honored as Coach of the Year. With Wilmington earning two players on the First and Second All-Conference list it was the first time that has happened in school history in the same season. The last time a Wildcat made an All-conference list was back in the 2009-2010 season as Third team and Honorable mentions honors.
The CACC Player Of the Year honors went to Tyaire Ponzo- Meek and he was without a doubt the leader of Wilmington this season. Ponzo-Meek was a workhorse on the court playing 36.8 minutes per game this season. The senior guard led the Wildcats and finished third in the CACC in scoring with 19.7 per game. Ponzo-Meek scored in double-digits in all 28 games this season and it extends his streak to 62 games with scoring in double-digits. The Wilmington, Delaware native was third in rebounding for the Wildcats with 5.4 and second in assists with 3.2 per game. Ponzo-Meek’s highlight games of the season included the Win vs Nyack where scored 31 points and went 7 for 8 from the three-point line. The Wildcats guard also had a double-double vs Chestnut Hill where he had 15 points and 10 rebounds in that game.
Next is Nick Richards who was a scoring machine, the junior guard had four games with 30 or more points. Richards was second on the Wildcats and fifth in the CACC in scoring. Just like Ponzo-Meek, you will always find Richard on the court where he logged 34.1 minutes per game. All this year opponents had to be careful when around Richards because the man was a thief with 60 steals on the season and 43 against CACC opponents. The New Castle, Delaware native led the Wildcats in assists with 3.33 and he was second on the team in rebounding with 6.5 a game. The Wilmington guard also led the team in double-doubles with four. Richards’s highlight games of the season included scoring a career-best 34 points in the win vs Goldey Beacom and two back-to-back 30-point games in the season.
Last but not least we close with the Coach of the year, Dan Burke who led the Wildcats to the best season in years with a 19-9 record. Wilmington was almost unbeatable at home losing only 2 games with a 14-2 record. Wilmington also wiped out their conference foes going 14-5 against CACC opponents this season. Burke improves his overall record with Wilmington to 39-48.