Wesleyan senior Ariri earns spot on All-MEC second team

BRIDGEPORT — West Virginia Wesleyan’s Aaron Ariri has been selected to All-Mountain East Conference second team.

Ariri, a 6-8 senior forward from Brampton, Ontorio, averaged 12.2 points and 6.1 rebounds for the Bobcats.

Wheeling Jesuit’s Haywood Highsmith, meanwhile, was selected as the MEC Player of the Year.

West Liberty’s Dalton Bolon was tabbed as the league’s Freshman of the Year and WLU’s Ben Howlett was chosen as the MEC Coach of the Year.

Highsmith, a senior from Baltimore, Md., filled the box score on a nightly basis averaging 21.7 points, 12.4 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.7 blocks. He led the league in rebounding and is fourth in the country in that category and is second in scoring and field-goal percentage. His 24 double-doubles this year led the country. 

Bolon, a native of Gnadenhutten, Ohio, averaged 16.9 points and 5.5 rebounds in his first season with the Hilltoppers. Bolon led all MEC freshmen in scoring and is third in the country among freshmen in that category. Bolon averages 3.15 made 3-pointers per game (second in the league), and is shooting 41 percent from behind the arc.

Howlett led West Liberty to a 25-2 record in his first season as head coach of the Hilltoppers. He also directed WLU to a 20-2 conference record and the MEC regular-season championship. Howlett’s 25 wins are the most by a first-year coach at West Liberty. WLU has been nationally ranked in the top 10 for the entirety of the regular season, including two weeks at No. 1.

Howlett’s squad is among the national leaders in multiple categories, including No. 1 in the country in scoring (106.7), assists (20.9), assist/turnover ratio (2.04) and turnover margin (+8.6).

Shepherd’s A.J. Carr, Wheeling Jesuit’s Pat Moseh and West Liberty’s Dan Monteroso were returning first-team picks this year, joining Highsmith on the first team.

Keir Anderson (Charleston), Taiwo Badmus (UVa.-Wise), Tommy Bolte (Concord) and Pat Johnson-Agwu (West Virginia State) complete the first team.

Three Fairmont State players earned second-team honors in Caleb Davis, Jason Jolly and Vonte Montgomery.

Bolon earned a spot on the second team, along with Ariri, Wheeling Jesuit’s Preston Boswell, Glenville State’s Darhius Nunn and UVa.-Wise’s Michal Seals.

Malik Jacobs (Urbana), Thomas Lang (Shepherd), Kyauta Taylor (Notre Dame) and Jordan Watson (West Liberty) earned honorable-mention recognition.

The All-MEC teams are selected by a vote of the league’s coaches.

All-MEC Teams:

First Team

Keir Anderson, Charleston, Sr., G Taiwo Badmus, UVa.-Wise, Sr., F Tommy Bolte, Concord, Jr., G A.J. Carr, Shepherd, Sr, F

Haywood Highsmith, Wheeling  Jesuit, Sr., F Pat Johnson-Agwu, W.Va. State, Jr.. F

Dan Monteroso, West Liberty, Sr., G

Pat Moseh, Wheeling Jesuit, Sr., G

Second Team

Aaron Ariri, W.Va. Wesleyan, Sr., F

Dalton Bolon, West Liberty, Fr., G

Preston Boswell, Wheeling Jesuit, So., G Caleb Davis, Fairmont State, Sr, G

Jason Jolly, Fairmont State, Jr., G

Vonte Montgomery, Fairmont State, Jr., G Darhius Nunn, Glenville State, So., G

Michal Seals, UVa.-Wise, So., G

Honorable Mention

Malik Jacobs, Urbana, Jr., F

Thomas Lang, Shepherd, So., G

Kyauta Taylor, Notre Dame, Sr., G

Jordan Watson, West Liberty, Sr., G

Individual awards

Player of the Year: Haywood Highsmith (Wheeling Jesuit)

Freshman of the Year: Dalton Bolon (West Liberty)

Coach of the Year: Ben Howlett (West Liberty)   

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