COLCHESTER, Vt. - Saint Michael's College men's basketball senior Morrell Gaskins (Cambria Heights, N.Y./Archbishop Molloy) was chosen as the recipient of this year's Jerry Lanteri '76 Award, head coach Josh Meyer announced recently. The accolade is given annually to an exemplary member or members of the men's basketball team.
To receive the award, chosen by a committee of former players and the men's basketball coaching staff, candidates must attain an esteemed academic stature, closely resemble the ideals of the true student-athlete, and be highly regarded by fellow students for his leadership qualities, both on and off the court.
"We are excited to present Morrell with the Jerry Lanteri Award," said Meyer. "Morrell has made significant contributions to the Saint Michael's College men's basketball program, as well as to our college community. He is a terrific teammate and leader, as well as an extremely dedicated, loyal and hard-working student-athlete. Morrell has made the most out of his time at Saint Michael's and grown so much as a student, athlete and person. He has had a very positive impact on our team and the experience of many people here who he has crossed paths with. Morrell truly represents the great personal qualities that Jerry Lanteri and this award stand for."
After playing one minute in one game as a first-year then averaging 2.0 points and 1.5 rebounds while appearing in 55 games as a reserve his sophomore and junior seasons, Gaskins emerged as a key post player in 2015-16. The 6-foot-6 forward turned in 10.7 points on a team-high 54.5-percent shooting while averaging 6.2 rebounds, including 2.5 on the offensive glass. Gaskins finished eighth in the Northeast-10 Conference in both shooting and offensive rebounding. His 23 blocks and 78.3-percent showing on free throws also paced the squad. Since the College began tracking blocked shots in 1982-83, Gaskins is the only Purple Knight to lead the team in field goal percentage, free throw percentage and blocked shots during the same season.
Gaskins scored in double figures 16 times as a senior, posting a pair of double-doubles in the process. In a 61-53 victory over the University of New Haven on Jan. 26, he totaled 20 points on 9-of-15 shooting to go along with eight rebounds - five offensive - and two blocks. He had perhaps his finest college game on Feb. 6 against Southern New Hampshire University, a team that later won the NE-10 Championship and made a run in the NCAA Tournament. Gaskins notched 28 points, 13 rebounds, six offensive boards, three assists and one block while shooting 9-of-11 from the floor and 10-of-14 on free throws in a narrow 70-65 setback.
The award is named after Jerry Lanteri, a 1976 honors graduate of Saint Michael's, and a member of the men's basketball team. Lanteri, a native of Southington, Conn., and standout student-athlete at Saint Paul's High School in Bristol, Conn., died on July 23, 1977, due to injuries resulting from a car accident.