A trio of Central Connecticut men's basketball players were honored with Northeast Conference post-season awards on Tuesday morning. Sophomore Kyle Vinales was named to the First Team, junior Matt Hunter was named to the Third Team and freshman Brandon Peel was named to the All-Rookie Team.
Central is the #7 seed in the NEC Tournament and will play at #2 Wagner tomorrow night at 7 p.m.
Vinales, the 2011-12 NEC Rookie of the Year, is the definition of a pure scorer. Every shot is a good one for the Detroit native, whose range has no limits. Just ask Quinnipiac, which fell victim to a Vinales 28-footer in the waning seconds last week that clinched a 15th straight NEC playoff appearance for CCSU.
Or ask Wagner, which saw him light up the scoreboard for 42 points and eight three-pointers in a mid-February game. Vinales is currently tied for the NEC scoring lead at 21.6 ppg, and has recorded a conference-high five games of 30+ points on the year. His 2.6 three-pointers per game is the fourth-best mark on the circuit. Vinales became the quickest NEC player to hit the 1,000-point milestone in nearly a decade when he reached the plateau in just 52 games last month.
Hunter's arrival at CCSU has led to a formidable one-two combination with fellow Detroit native Vinales. One of the NEC's most versatile talents, Hunter's career took a memorable turn in December when he matched an Assembly Hall record with 40 points against top-ranked Indiana.
He would go on to finish the regular season as the NEC leader in steals with 2.7 per game, a figure that ranks him ninth nationally. Hunter is also sixth in the league in scoring (17.1) and seventh in rebounding (7.7).
The 6'7" Peel provided the Blue Devils with a strong interior presence, and finished the year ranked second on CCSU with 5.6 rebounds per game and 52.3 percent shooting from the field. The two-time Choice Hotels NEC Rookie of the Week averaged 4.6 points and posted a pair of double-doubles on the year.