Brenton named Lefty Driesell National Defensive Player of the Year
April 5, 2013
ATLANTA - Stony Brook men's basketball senior forward Tommy Brenton '12 (Columbia, Md.) has been named the recipient of the 2013 Lefty Driesell Award as the National Defensive Player of the Year, CollegeInsider.com announced at its annual awards banquet at the Renaissance Atlanta Midtown Hotel Friday evening. This is the first time in program history that a Stony Brook basketball student-athlete has won a national player of the year award.
In its fourth year of existence, the Lefty Driesell award is named in honor of coaching legend Lefty Driesell, who is the only person to ever win 100 games at four different Division I schools. He is best known for his time at Maryland, leading the program to the National Invitational Tournament title in 1972 and its second-ever ACC Tournament Championship in 1984. He finished his career at Maryland with a 348-159 record and concluded his career with an impressive 786-394 mark.
Past recipients of the award include Kentucky's Anthony Davis, Old Dominion's Kent Bazemore and Mississippi State's Jarvis Varnado. The 19-person committee tasked with choosing the recipient includes a mix of active and retired head coaches, members of college basketball media and Lefty Driesell himself.
"I am proud of Tommy for his accomplishments and thrilled that he has been selected for this prestigious honor," Stony Brook head coach Steve Pikiell said. "For a committee as distinguished as this one to recognize Tommy as the best defender in the country is humbling and a proud moment for Stony Brook Men's Basketball.
"Tommy has been the anchor of our program the last four years, and his defense has played a major role in our team winning three out of the last four America East regular championships. I've told my players time and time again that offense is inconsistent, but defense is always consistent. Defense is the one thing you can count on, and Tommy has embodied that philosophy for four years."
Brenton, who already has his bachelor's degree and is wrapping up his master's degree this semester, continues to rack up the accolades after a fantastic senior season in which he led the Seawolves in rebounds (279), assists (158), steals (54), free throws made (100). Earlier this week, he was named Associated Press All-America honorable mention and selected to the Lefty Driesell Defensive All-America team. Last week, he was named a Lou Henson Mid-Major All-American and named to the NABC District 1 first team. Last month, he was named America East Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, first-team All-America East and America East All-Defensive.
Brenton's gritty toughness on the floor resulted in his having to often defend the opponent's best offensive threats. He made opponents take poor shots, took the most charges on the team and was always the first person diving to the floor to grab a loose ball. His efforts were contagious as Stony Brook currently ranks sixth in the nation in field goal percentage defense (37.8 percent) and 13th in scoring defense (57.5/game). Many times this season, the Seawolves held their opponents to season lows in points and shooting, including an epic performance on January 9 that saw the team hold Binghamton to just 37 points and 26.4 percent shooting. Stony Brook was 20-0 this season when it held teams under 60 points.
In his career, Brenton is a two-time first-team All-America East selection and a two-time America East Defensive Player of the Year. He was just the second player in America East history to be named Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year in the same season. He graduates Stony Brook as the program's all-time leader in rebounds (1,115) and steals (220) and the program's all-time Div. I leader in assists (405). He is tied for third all-time in conference in history in career rebounds, one of just eight players ever in the league to grab over 1,000 rebounds.
Brenton co-captained a Stony Brook squad that posted its best season ever as a Div. I program, winning 25 games, capturing the America East regular season championship for the third time in the last four seasons and earning the program's first-ever national postseason victory, a 71-58 win over Massachusetts in the first round of the NIT.
In his four seasons as a member of the Seawolves, Brenton played in 127 games, and Stony Brook's record in that span was 85-42 (.669).