Albany, NY–The Sage College's department of athletics gathered to recognize and honor the outstanding performances of the 2015-2016 year with the naming of the athletic award winners for the 15 varsity athletic teams. In addition to awarding the Gator Award, for the Most Outstanding Player. Senior forward and team co-captain Melvin Ford (Voorhees, NJ/Eastern Regional) was honored as the Gator of the Year in men's basketball, while also being tapped to speak at the banquet as the student-athlete speaker for the event.
Head Men's Basketball Coach Brian Barnes noted of him, "Melvin's development as a student-athlete and leader in our program have been very special to witness and rewarding to be a part of." Barnes, added, "Our coaching staff is extremely proud of all that he has accomplished as a Gator and we thank him for showing our younger players a shining example to follow. Melvin has helped our program reach new heights by raising expectations while also preparing our returning players to carry the torch."
Ford earned 2015-2016 Skyline Conference All-Star First Team honors for his play, despite missing the final two games of the season with an illness. During the course of his stellar career, Ford led the Gators to the 2014-2015 Skyline Conference regular-season and Skyline Conference Tournament Championship as well as the program's first bid to the NCAA Tournament in 2015 after a record setting campaign that saw Sage go 23-5. Over the course of his career at Sage, Ford helped the team to an impressive 67-40 record, while leading the team to the Skyline Conference Tournament all four seasons.
He wrapped his stellar career as the program's all-time leading rebounder with 733 rebounds, while ranking No. 3 all-time in scoring with 976 points. He also finished third with his 61 career blocked shots in 102 games played, which is No. 2 in the program's record book. He was nationally ranked in Division III in the final 2015-2016 season rankings in five categories in the final release of statistics. He was No. 43 in both rebounds per game average (10.0 ppg) and double-doubles with 12 over the course of the 2015-2016 campaign. He was No. 44 as well with his 3.33 offensive rebounds per game average, while standing No. 70 in defensive rebounds per game average (6.67). Ford was also No. 78 with his 240 total rebounds.
Coach Barnes added, "Melvin Ford holds a very special place in our hearts and will always be a terrific ambassador of our program. Melvin will be successful in whichever area he chooses to pursue next and we are extremely grateful to him for his contributions to our program and athletic department."
As a team, the 2015-2016 Gators ranked in the Top 100 in nine different categories for their efforts over the course of the 2015-2016 season. Sage was ranked No. 66 in total rebounds per game (40.62), while standing No. 82 in rebounding margin (+3.9) as well as No. No. 84 in defensive rebounds per game (26.0). Sage averaged 8.0 steals per game and ranked No. 87, while also ranking No. 88 in three-point field goal percentage (36.7%). The Gators were also ranked No. 89 in scoring margin (+5.2) and No. 97 in three point field goal defense (32.5%). Sage also averaged 78.8 ppg and was ranked No. 99 in the category, while also ranking No. 100 with a 12.62 offensive rebounds per game average.