March 9, 2009
CLEVELAND - One year after being tabbed the league's Freshman of the Year, Northern Illinois sophomore guard Darion "Jake" Anderson chalked up another honor Monday, as he was named to the All-Mid-American Conference Second Team, as voted on by the league's 12 head coaches. Additionally, Mike DiNunno earned a spot on the MAC All Freshman Team.
"Both of these young men are very deserving of being recognized for their efforts this season," said NIU head coach Ricardo Patton. "Jake Anderson has put this team on his back in numerous games this year, and really improved from what was a great freshman season.
"Mike DiNunno was asked to be not only the starting point guard, but one of the leaders of his team in just his first year of college basketball. He had a great start to his career, and carried it over to conference play, which is not easy for a freshman to do. He has a very bright future ahead of him, as do all of the young players on this team."
Anderson is the first NIU player to be named to the MAC's second-team since Leon Rodgers accomplished the feat following the 2001-02 season, and just the third ever -- Kenny Battle also collected second-team plaudits in 1985.
DiNunno leads all MAC freshmen in scoring (12.3 ppg), assists (2.62 apg), free throw percentage (.732), three-point field goals made per game (1.93) and minutes played (29.34 mpg). He has recorded 18 double-digit scoring outputs, including seven in MAC play.
The Chicago native has paced the Huskies in scoring on seven occasions, and leads NIU in both assists (76) and three-pointers (56). DiNunno was averaging 23 points per game after his first three college contests, capped off with a career-high 27 points in a win over Indiana State on Nov. 18, 2008. He was tabbed the MAC-West Co-Player of the Week on Nov. 28.
Anderson was a four-time MAC-West Player of the Week, and proved his worth as one of the league's top performers down the stretch of the regular season. Three of Anderson's eight 20-plus point scoring outputs came in the final seven games of the season. In NIU's combined 10 regular season wins, Anderson averaged nearly 23 points and six rebounds per game.
Anderson enters the MAC Tournament ranked fourth in the league in scoring (16.9 ppg), 12th in rebounding (5.4 rpg), 15th in assists (2.46 apg), 13th in free throw percentage (.668), ninth in steals (1.57 spg), 11th in three-point field goal percentage (.361), 10th in three-point field goals made per game (1.54), ninth in defensive rebounds (4.18 rpg) and 10th in minutes played (31.29 mpg).
The MAC's individual specialty awards will be released by the conference office Wednesday in conjunction with the FirstEnergy MAC Tournament, which tips off Tuesday afternoon. The 11th-seeded Huskies will take on No. 6 Kent State Tuesday at 2 p.m. at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.