NEW YORK – Monday's year-end banquet was a night to honor the 2011-12 Columbia men's basketball team and its four graduating seniors - Chris Crockett, Steve Egee, Matt Johnson and Blaise Staab. All four spoke at the end the banquet, reflecting on their four years in a Columbia uniform.
At the start of the night, Head coach Kyle Smith, Athletics Director Dianne Murphy and John Vaske '88, Chair of the Men's Basketball Advisory Committee, each spoke to the crowd of nearly 200 assembled at Columbia's Low Library on a warm spring evening.
Columbia radio broadcaster Dalen Cuff '06 was the recipient of the Alumni award, renamed this year as the Gerald Sherwin Alumni Award to reflect the vital contributions made by Jerry Sherwin '55, a loyal and passionate men's basketball alumnus.
Junior Dean Kowalski earned the Sheldon B. Preschel Memorial Award, given to a junior or senior member of the basketball team who achieves the best cumulative scholastic average through the fall semester.
A consummate "glue guy" and hard-nosed competitor, junior John Daniels was named the team's Defensive Player of the Year.
Senior Steve Egee took home the Feinberg Family Award, given to the member of the team who displays an outstanding commitment to the greater Columbia University community.
Seniors Chris Crockett and Blaise Staab each received the Jason Wachob award, given to a member of the team "who in the estimation of his teammates and coaches, fought through adversity and never gave up on his teammates or himself." Neither Crockett nor Staab played in a varsity game in their junior year, but each of them were critical contributors to the squad this year as seniors.
Fellow senior Matt Johnson took home the Walter H. Bernson Memorial award, given to the member of the team who best exemplifies the qualities of team spirit, hustle and determination.
The Raymond J. Fullerton Memorial award, given to that member of the team who, in the estimation of his teammates and coaches, is judged to be the most valuable in terms of spirit, team play and skill, was given to junior Brian Barbour, who took home first team All-Ivy League accolades and received all-district recognition from the National Association of Basketball Coaches after the season.
To end the night, the Low Library audience was treated to an ESPN-style highlight video of the Lions' season, produced by former Columbia sharpshooter Joe Case '02.