DREXEL HILL, PA. – Saint Joseph’s seniors James Demery and Shavar Newkirk were the co-recipients of the John P. Hilferty Memorial Award for the team’s Most Valuable Players, as announced at the 63rd Annual Men's Basketball Awards Banquet held at Drexelbrook Catering this evening.
Demery was the team’s second leading scorer with a career-best average of 16.9 points, and also ranked second with 5.5 rebounds per game. The 6-6 senior from Williamston, N.C., was named to the Atlantic 10 All-Conference Third Team as he hit for double figures 27 times this season, with nine games of 20 points or more. Demery finished his career with 1,295 points to rank 31st on the Hawks’ all-time scoring list.
Newkirk was the team’s top scorer with 17.4 points per game as he made a comeback from an ACL injury that shortened his junior season. He earned Atlantic 10 All-Conference Second Team honors while also leading the Hawks with 3.9 assists and 1.6 steals per game. Newkirk, a 6-0 guard from New York, N.Y., tallied double figures in all but three games, with 10 games of 20-plus points. Newkirk capped his career with 1,193 points to rank 38th among SJU’s all-time leading scorers.
In addition to honoring the current Hawks, Pat Calathes ’08 was inducted into the SJU Basketball Hall of Fame. Calathes led the 2007-08 Hawks in scoring with 17.5 points per game as well as rebounding (7.5) and blocked shots (1.2), as Saint Joseph’s went 21-13, reached the Atlantic 10 Championship game and earned a bid to the NCAA Tournament. The 6-10 guard was a two-time selection to the Atlantic 10 All-Conference Team, earning first-team honors as a senior, while being named to 2008 A-10 All-Championship Team. Calathes finished his career with 1,251 points and currently ranks 34th on the Hawks’ all-time list, while his total of 630 rebounds is the 26th best in school history.
Sophomore Nick Robinson (Chicago, Ill.) received the Robert O’Neill Memorial Award as the team’s Most Improved Player. Robinson played in 31 games, making 11 starts, and averaged a career-best 7.7 points and 5.2 rebounds while shooting a team-best 83.9 percent from the foul line in Atlantic 10 games. The sophomore came on strong late in the season and in the final seven games, averaged 14.1 points and 7.1 rebounds while converting 58 percent from the field.
Director of athletics Don DiJulia ‘67 received the Michael J. Conway Memorial Award, for an alumnus who has given back to the program. DiJulia will be retiring at the end of the academic year which marks his 50th in college athletics, and his 35th as Saint Joseph’s athletic director over two terms, from 1976-1981 and then from 1988 to now. All told, DiJulia’s affiliation with SJU spans six decades, from his time as a student to the present. One of the most respected administrators in college athletics, DiJulia has overseen tremendous growth in the University’s athletic programs during his tenure while focusing on the enhancement of the student-athlete experience.
Senior Jai Williams (Philadelphia, Pa.) was presented with the inaugural Clare Ariano Award for Character. The award was instituted to honor Ariano, the program’s longtime administrative assistant who will be retiring this summer. Williams, a 6-9 forward, played in 57 career games for the Hawks and owned a 61.8 field goal percentage. He was the recipient of the team’s Most Improved award last season.
Senior Michael Booth (Thornton, Pa.) earned the George Senesky Academic Award given to the top scholar-athlete. A four-year walk-on and pharmaceutical marketing major, Booth was named to the 2017 NABC Honors Court, and previously received the team’s Cummins Award for Spirit. He has earned recognition on both the A-10 Commissioner’s and SJU Athletic Director’s Honor Rolls for multiple semesters during his career.
Senior guard Kyle Thompson (Mt. Laurel, N.J.) was presented with the Daniel J. Cummins, Jr., Memorial Award for spirit for the second time in his career after being a co-recipient in 2016. A four-year walk-on, and previous Senesky Award recipient, Thompson has also earned recognition on the A-10 Commissioner’s and SJU Athletic Director’s Honor Rolls for multiple semesters.
The Patrick D. O'Pake Unsung Hero Award was given to four-year managers Bridget Durkin and Emily Shields. Durkin is a business intelligence and analytics major from Havertown, Pa., while Shields is a marketing major from Lafayette Hill, Pa.
Jake Callahan, who was also a four-year manager, received the William F. Maher Memorial Award for loyalty. He is a communications major from Drexel Hill, Pa.
The Fr. Emory Ross, S.J. Sixth Man Award was given to senior Mikaela Bakey, who served as the famed Hawk mascot. An accounting and risk management & insurance major from Mullica Hill, N.J., Bakey was the 38th student, and third woman, to represent the University as one of college basketball’s top mascots.
The William J. Bennett Award for dedication to the program was given to Saint Joseph’s video coordinator Thomas Boyle ’15. A former team manager, Boyle will be earning his master’s degree in business administration in May.
Despite missing double-figure scorers Lamarr Kimble and Charlie Brown, Jr., with season-ending injuries, and suffering 10 losses by less than four points, Saint Joseph’s won seven of its last nine games to finish 16-16 on the season. The Hawks were seeded fourth in the conference tournament and reached the A-10 Semifinals before falling to top-seeded Rhode Island.