NCAA Tournament-bound Johnson & Wales is reaping the rewards of a record-breaking men’s basketball season. The 26-2 and 14th-ranked Wildcats boast the Great Northeast Athletic Conference player, defensive player and coach of the year and three all-conference players after voting by the league’s coaches. JWU won the GNAC title on Feb. 27 and earned an automatic bid to the tournament.
Quarry Greenaway is the player of the year and a first-team all-conference selection. He led the GNAC and was fourth in the nation in Division III with a 26.1 scoring average. He is the active NCAA career scoring leader with 2,236 points. He is a senior from Westchester, N.Y.
Robert Lewis is the defensive player of the year. The senior from Providence, a high-school star at Central, anchors a tough defense that led the league and is 18th in the nation with a 64.1 points against average.
Jamie Benton is the GNAC coach of the year. He guided JWU to 26 victories, a school record, and along the way won 21 games in a row, also a JWU record. He has coached at JWU for 12 years. The title is his second (2011) and the Wildcats’ third (2004, 2011, 2016). He played basketball at La Salle Academy and at Boston College.
Tom Garrick of Seekonk, whose roots are buried deep in Rhode Island, is an all-conference first team selection. The St. Andrew’s alum is second in the GNAC and 22nd in the nation with his 22.4 scoring average. He had 33 points in the GNAC championship. His dad, also Tom, was a hoops star at West Warwick and the University of Rhode Island.
Junior Anthony Jernigan of West Haven, Conn., was named to the second team. He is a CCRI product.
J&W’s first-round opponent in the NCAA D-III tournament will be Trinity College of Hartford. They will play Friday at Plattsburgh, N.Y. The Bantams (19-7) are ranked No. 22. One of four NESCAC teams in the tournament, Trinity received an at-large bid.
Survivors of the first two rounds this weekend will advance to the sectional semifinals March 11. Those winners will play for sectional titles on March 12. The Division III National Championship is scheduled for Salem, Va., March 18-19.