The Rider News 2021-2022 men’s and women’s players of the year

By Carolo Pascale and Jake Tiger

Dwight Murray Jr

The man who slayed the dragon, otherwise known as Rider men’s basketball shining star, Dwight Murray Jr., is The Rider News 2021-2022 Men’s Player of the Year. The award was decided on by a poll sent out to the university and displayed on social media. Murray had a stellar year for the Broncs, helping them get past the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) quarterfinals for the first time in 11 years. He did so in incredible fashion, taking down the No.1 seeded Iona Gaels with a pull-up dagger with 7.3 seconds left to lift the Broncs into the semifinals.

“First off, I want to thank God and thank everyone who voted for me,” said Murray in an email. “It means a lot to me. I have always been the underdog in anything, and when I got to Rider, they gave me the love and the support that I felt like I always needed, but I will always have that chip on my shoulder because the job is not done yet.”

Murray had a great MAAC Tournament. He averaged 17.6 points in three games with his high of 21 coming in the game against Iona. He also posted nearly 6.4 rebounds and 6 assists per game and shot 48.7% from the field, all while playing 38.6 minutes per game. It’s safe to say that Murray was the Broncs MVP of the tournament.

There were a few standout moments from Murray this season. From the very first game Murray, made it clear that he wasn’t playing around this season. He dropped 17 points on 7-for-14 shooting against Duquesne in the season opener.

In the regular season, Murray was just as good averaging 13.1 points per game, shot 38.8% from the field, averaged 6.3 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game, had four blocks and played 37.3 minutes a night.

Murray, who still has one more year of eligibility left, has declared for the 2022 NBA Draft per his Instagram, but left the door open for a return to Lawrenceville.

“The goal is to go undefeated, win the conference championship, and make it to the championship in the NCAA Tournament,” said Murray, “After that, I will be in the league next year, so I will be putting in work so I can get all my goals I want to accomplish and I will be player of the year next year for the conference.”

Lenaejha Evans

Senior guard Lenaejha Evans is The Rider News 2021-2022 Women’s Player of the Year. The award was decided on by a poll sent out to the university and displayed on social media. It’s only fitting that she scores one more time on her way out.

Whether it was as a spark plug or starter, Evans reliably carried the majority of the Broncs’ offensive load during the 21-22 season, finishing the season averaging a team-high 14.0 points per game, while leading all Rider guards in field goal percentage with 44.5%.

“It feels amazing,” said Evans in an email. “I honestly didn’t expect to win, but I’m glad everyone voted and showed their support.”

Evans began the year as Rider’s sixth player, coming off of the bench and torching opposing reserves. Through the first three games of the season, she averaged 15.3 points on 68% (17-25) shooting from the field and cemented her name into early Sixth Player of the Year discussions.

After this initial offensive burst, Evans was promoted to the starting lineup and retained the primary guard spot for the remainder of the season.

“I would like to thank my teammates and coaches for everything they have done,” said Evans. “To my fans and supporters, I would like you to know that the support does not go unnoticed. I appreciate you all coming to the games and bringing energy.”

Evans caught fire on Jan. 15 and put up a season-high 30 points against Niagara, making 12 of her 15 shots and elevating Rider to a 92-70 victory.

On March 7, Evans was named to the All-MAAC Third Team, as she was the only member of the team to be given an all-conference distinction.

“This season I would say I had fun, being able to finally play in front of a full Rider University crowd,” said Evans. “I don’t know any other team I would rather do this with.”

Evans will finish her collegiate playing career as a graduate student at Elon University, she announced on her Instagram on April 26.

“I’m so thankful for my time here at Rider. I met so many amazing people in a short amount of time that made a huge impact on my life,” Evans said. “I was able to grow as a person, network and understand the meaning of Heart N Soul. I will always be a Bronc.”

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