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Duquesne's Saunders named A-10 defensive player of the year

For a second consecutive season, Duquesne produced a first-team all-conference player in men's basketball.

Junior forward Damian Saunders earned Atlantic 10 Conference first-team honors Sunday, and he also became the first Dukes player to earn the league's Defensive Player of the Year. Saunders led the A-10 in steals and blocked shots and was tied for second in rebounding.

Former Duquesne guard Aaron Jackson earned first-team all-conference honors in 2009.

The 6-foot-7, 220-pound Saunders, a native of Waterbury, Conn., and a product of Fitchburg (Mass.) Notre Dame Prep, averaged 14.9 points and 11.4 rebounds and notched a school-record 84 steals to go with 93 blocked shots and 74 assists during the regular season.

Saunders joins Bruce Atkins, in 1981, as the only other Duquesne junior picked for the first team.

Dukes senior guard Jason Duty was named to the all-academic team, marking the ninth time in 10 years a Dukes player has achieved the honor. Duty, a Vincentian Academy product, ranks second on the team in 3-pointers (36).

The only other time Duquesne produced back-to-back first-team selections was in 1980 (B.B. Flenory) and '81 (Atkins).

Saunders is the eighth Duquesne player to earn first-team honors, joining Jackson, Mike James (1998), Derrick Alston (1994), Rick Suder (1986), Atkins (1981, '82), Flenory and Norm Nixon (1977).

All-Atlantic 10

first team

Kevin Anderson, Richmond, G, Jr., 6-0 Lavoy Allen, Temple, Jr., F 6-9 Morrisville, Pa. Jordan Crawford, Xavier, So. G 6-4 Detroit, Mich. Damian Saunders, Duquesne, Jr. F 6-7 Waterbury, Conn. Chris Wright, Dayton, Jr. F 6-8 Trotwood, Ohio

Second-Team

Ryan Brooks, Temple, Sr. G 6-4 Narberth, Pa. David Gonzalvez, Richmond, Sr. G 6-4 Marietta, Ga. Rodney Green, La Salle, Sr. G 6-5 Philadelphia, Pa. Kwamain Mitchell, Saint Louis, So. G 5-10 Milwaukee, Wis. Andrew Nicholson, St. Bonaventure, So. F 6-9 Mississauga, Ontario

Third-Team

Keith Cothran, Rhode Island, Sr. G 6-4 New Haven, Conn. Ricky Harris, Massachusetts, Sr. G 6-2 Baltimore, Md. Delroy James, Rhode Island, Jr. F 6-8 Brooklyn, N.Y. Jason Love, Xavier, Sr. F/C 6-9 Philadelphia, Pa. Shamari Spears, Charlotte ,Jr. F 6-6 Salisbury, N.C.

Honorable Mention

Juan Fernandez, Temple, So. G 6-4 Rio Tercero, Argentina Damian Hollis George, Washington, Sr. F 6-8 Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Willie Reed, Saint Louis, So. F 6-9 Kansas City, Mo. 11.8 8.0 22 23 60

Rookie Team

Chris Braswell, Charlotte, Fr. F 6-8 Mount Pleasant, Md. Cody Ellis, Saint Louis, Fr. F 6-8 Perth, Australia Chris Gaston, Fordham, Fr. F 6-7 Palisades Park, N.J. Lasan Kromah, George Washington, Fr. G 6-5 Greenbelt, Md. Aaric Murray, La Salle, Fr. C 6-10 Philadelphia, Pa. Akeem Richmond, Rhode Island, Fr. G 6-1 Samford, N.C.

Defensive Team

Lavoy Allen, Temple, Jr. F 6-9 Morrisville, Pa. David Gonzalvez, Richmond, Sr. G 6-4 Marietta, Ga. Damian Saunders, Duquesne, Jr. F 6-7 Waterbury, Conn. London Warren, Dayton, Sr. G 6-0 Jacksonville, Fla. Garrett Williamson, Saint Joseph's, Sr. G 6-5 Lower Merion, Pa.

Academic Team

Brian Conklin, Saint Louis, So. F 6-6 North Eugene, Ore., Business Administration Jason Dut, Duquesne, Sr. G 6-1 Cranberry Township, Pa., Accounting Kurt Huelsman, Dayton, Sr. F/C 6-10 St. Henry, Ohio, Operations Management Will Martell, Rhode Island, Jr. C 7-0 Fair Haven, N.J., Finance Yves Mekongo, La Salle, Sr. F 6-7 Elizabeth, N.J., Integrated Science & Business Technology

Player of the Year: Kevin Anderson, Richmond

Rookie of the Year: Chris Gaston, Fordham

Defensive Player of the Year: Damian Saunders, Duquesne

Chris Daniels Most Improved Player of the Year: Chris Johnson, Dayton

Sixth Man of the Year: Ramone Moore, Temple

Student-Athlete of the Year: Yves Mekongo, La Salle

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