Rider figured to be one of the teams that would step up challenge Siena's two-year stranglehold on the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference -- heck, a single first-place vote
for the Broncs was what kept the Saints from being a full-consensus top pick on media day back in October. And Rider, not Siena, was bringing in the preseason player of the year. But after a resounding 88-74 Red Line Upset at Mississippi State, things went south. The Broncs lost six of their first nine MAAC contests, including a severe Festivus beatdown
up in Albany. But things are slowly turning around in Larryville, and it's primarily thanks to that suddenly hot MAAC PPOY. Ryan Thompson is the 12th Mid-Majority Baller of the Week for the 2009-10 season.
While his ex-MMBOY brother
is off pounding the boards in Sacramento
(and yes, this is the first bro-tandem to earn MMBOW honors), Ryan is putting together a decent little senior season at the school they once played at together. There was that three-game stretch in December when he went 3-for-22 from the floor, so you can't call it an unqualified success, but we're concerned with the short and recent-term in this kind of post. During a three-game win streak to bring Rider back to the .500 mark in league play, Mr. Thompson put in two very solid performances. First, there was the 40-minute, 10-for-17, 25-point effort in a 77-74 home victory
against Manhattan last Thursday. Two days later, he led his team to a meaningful road victory
up at Fairfield, scoring 31 points including 15-of-16 from the stripe. He added 11 rebounds to that line, and he would have had a dubl-dubl-dubl if not for just nine boards in that Manhattan game.
Make no mistake; Siena still runs this league, with a 19-4 overall record, a perfect 12-0 mark in MAAC play, and a premier BracketButler coming up later this month. Rider has a lot of work left to do to climb the ladder and nab one of the top four slots. But if this team continues to surge, along with streaking Iona
(9-3, W8) and surprising Saint Peter's
(8-4), the league tournament could provide a little more magic than the Saints want.
And Siena is used to having a perfect season ruined by Rider, as evidenced by the Thompson layup with 3.9 seconds left
that stopped the Saints' regular-season run at 12 last season. (Rider has to wait until Feb. 26 for its home shot tis time around.) And if you go back two
seasons, Mr. Thompson was concussed for the 2008 title game
against the green and gold, a fact that led to a Siena blowout. So there's a map of his future motivations, sports fans. For now, let's welcome him as our MMBOW.