In addition to honoring the current Hawks, the 1958-59 Saint Joseph’s team was inducted into the Saint Joseph’s Men’s Basketball Hall of Fame.
The 2016-17 Hawks faced adversity this season as four scholarship players were sidelined with season-ending injuries, including their top two scorers, Shavar Newkirk and Lamarr Kimble. SJU also had third leading scorer James Demery miss 10 early-season games with an injury, although he returned by the start of conference play.
“After much conversation and reflection centered on the idea of value to a team, the only reasonable selection was the team as a whole. The results were an aside, but whether on crutches or in slings, spending time rehabbing or playing positions they weren’t recruited for, every guy gave their all for and with each other. There is no greater statement about Saint Joseph’s basketball then giving your all for each other,” said head coach Phil Martelli, who recorded his 200th Atlantic 10 win this season.
The 1958-59 Hawks were the first team in school history to advance to the NCAA Tournament. The squad, led by Hall of Fame coach Dr. Jack Ramsay, compiled a 22-5 record and won the Middle Atlantic Conference championship as well as the Big 5 title.
The members of that team were: Dave Boyce, Bob Clarke, Al Cooke, Jim Coolican, Bob Dickey, Jack Egan, Joe Gallo, John Hoffacker, Vince Kempton, Frank Majewski, Bob McNeill, Joe Reilly, Joe Spratt (captain), Tony Walsh and Paul Westhead.
Junior Jai Williams (Philadelphia, Pa.) received the Robert O’Neill Memorial Award as the team’s Most Improved Player. The 6-8 forward saw increased numbers in every statistical category this season while playing in a career-high 27 games and averaging 10.7 minutes. He converted 63.4 percent from the field and posted personal bests of eight points and eight rebounds in two games this year.
The Patrick D. O'Pake Unsung Hero Award was given to senior tri-captain Brendan Casper (Audubon, Pa.). The 6-6 forward/guard reached new career-highs this season, averaging 18.3 minutes per game in all 31 contests, and hit for personal bests in points (13), rebounds (9) and assists (7). Casper, a former walk-on who earned a scholarship in the Spring of 2016, became a key rotation player this season and filled in at point guard after the injuries to Newkirk and Kimble.
Graduate student and tri-captain Javon Baumann (Solms-Oberbiel, Germany) earned the William F. Maher Memorial Award for loyalty. Baumann averaged 13.2 minutes per game for the Hawks this season, seeing time in 30 games. He played in 100 games during the course of his career and was the Hawks’ Most Improved Player on the 2013-14 squad. Baumann received his bachelor’s degree in December 2015 and is completing his master’s degree in international business.
Casper and Baumann are the last of six Hawks who are two-time Atlantic 10 champions, as SJU captured the titles in 2014 and 2016.
The Daniel J. Cummins, Jr. Memorial Award for spirit was presented to senior Timmy Parks (Wilmington, Del.), who served as the Hawk mascot for the past two seasons.
Junior Kyle Thompson (Mt. Laurel, N.J.) received the George Senesky Memorial Award for academics. An interdisciplinary health services major, Thompson earned mention on both the Atlantic 10 Commissioner’s Honor Roll and the SJU Athletic Director’s Honor Roll this year.
The William J. Bennett Award for dedication to the program was given to Darlene Meely, Saint Joseph’s director of travel services.
Michael Thomas ’78 received the Michael J. Conway Memorial Award, for an alumnus who has given back to the program. Thomas played for the Hawks from 1975 to 1978 and was an All-Big 5 Second Team selection in 1976.
The Fr. Emory Ross, S.J. Sixth Man Award was given to Saint Joseph’s student supporter Will Russell.