Feb. 28, 2007
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - Freshman Erich Bracht capped a tremendous first season with the men's basketball program by being named NEWMAC Rookie of the Year by the league's head coaches, Tuesday afternoon. Bracht was also named Second Team All-Conference, while sophomore Jimmy Bartolotta copped First Team All-Conference plaudits.
Bracht was a double-double machine for the Engineers (14-13), reaching double figures in scoring and rebounding 10 times during the campaign. A gifted offensive player with great touch around the basket, Bracht led the NEWMAC in field goal percentage and is currently ranked 12th in the nation among all shooters, while the rookie from Highlands Ranch, Colo., smashed the Institute record for field goal percentage in a season (.627).
Bartolotta, another Colorado native from Littleton, was one of only two players considered for the league's prestigious postseason Player of the Year honor. The standout sophomore conceded the conference's top individual honor to WPI senior Ryan Cain, but Bartolotta still assembled one of the best seasons in program history after finishing the season ranked first in the league in scoring (21.2), third in rebounding (8.7), third in assists (4.3), fourth in blocks (1.1) and sixth in steals (2.1). He also led the league in free-throw shooting en route to an MIT single-season record (.866).
Bartolotta, who leads the nation in free throws made, ranks among the NCAA's top 100 in points, rebounds, assists, and free-throw shooting. He is also a finalist for ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America honors.
Cain was a preseason All-America pick and he earned his second player of the year award after leading WPI to its fourth consecutive NEWMAC regular-season crown. Stephen Brennan, who orchestrated a six-game turnaround for Babson en route to second place in the team standings, was named NEWMAC Coach of the Year. Coast Guard head coach Pete Barry accepted the league's first Sportsmanship Award on behalf of the Bears.
Bracht is the third player in the history of MIT basketball to earn Rookie of the Year honors from a conference affiliate. Craig Heffernan was named Constitution Athletic Conference (CAC) Rookie of the Year after the 1997-98 season, while Bartolotta secured the NEWMAC's top rookie accolade last season.