The Men’s Basketball team has an All-Star in its presence.
Fourth-year forward Matt Devine was named an ECAC Division three upstate All-Star. He led the Hawks this season in both scoring and rebounding, averaging 21 points and 6.9 rebounds per game.
Devine said he recognizes how much of an accomplishment the title is and is happy he can share it with the entire basketball program.
“It’s pretty much an honor,” Devine said.“It’s cool that I can share it with my coaches and teammates.”
Head Coach Mike Rejniak said he is proud of Devine’s achievement and growth as a player. Rejniak also called Devine’s admission into the All-SUNYAC First Team a “crowning achievement.” Robert Jones was the last player in the program to be named to the team during the 1999-2000 season.
“I was proud of him,” Rejniak said.“I know this is just kind of icing on the cake for him because our main goal was obviously to make the SUNYAC playoffs, and we did that. It’s the culmination of a four-year career, where he’s gone from being a bench player to all the way to being one of the top players in our league, and now the region, which is great.”
Devine is hoping the honor he received will help the SUNY New Paltz program in the future.
“It’s one of the awards that we haven’t gotten in a while for the school, so hopefully it puts the school and the program on the map for future years because there should be exciting years to come,” Devine said.
Rejniak credits Devine as a major reason for the improvements the Hawks made on the court, especially this past season, when three of their starters were rookies.
“When I got hired, I was looking for that focal guy that I was going to use as my wingman, to help with moving this program and turning the corner,” Rejniak said.“He helped foster the growth in our program because when you start three freshmen, and then you have Matty out there, a senior, to have the success that we did is a credit to what Matty has meant to the program.”
First-year forward Deveino McRae said Devine was a role model both on and off the court and his leadership taught the freshmen players “how to play the game.”
Rejniak said he and Devine have fostered a great relationship over the years.
“I’m going to miss just having him there,” Rejniak said. “For me coaching is all about the relationships, and with Matty, we have grown really close these last couple of years.”
Devine said he is going to remember everyone involved with the SUNY New Paltz athletic program and the happiness it brings to the school.
“[I will miss] just everyone that’s a part of it, all the programs, all the sports around it, all the coaches and especially my teammates,” Devine said. “I’ll definitely miss them the most, but also the fun and joy it brings to the school here.”
Rejniak said Devine’s personality is what he’ll miss the most about the All-Star.
“Points and rebounds, they come and go, that’s the nature of the business, but as far as his personality and leadership qualities and things like that, that’s what I’m going to miss,” Rejniak said.