Holy Cross senior center Patrick Whearty regrets not having been named the Patriot League's player of the week at any time in his career. That award might have looked nice next to the Patriot League player of the year award he won this week.
"Yes, I was surprised when they said I'd won," Whearty said. "I've never really gotten anything before."
In truth, Patriot League coaches vote on the award, and they have been a predictable lot recently. The league's regular season champion also has had the player of the year in six of the past seven years. The only exception came when Colgate's Adonal Foyle won the award in 1996. He was a first-round pick in the NBA draft three months later.
The 6-foot-10 Whearty leads Holy Cross (24-3) in scoring average (12.1), rebounding (6.6) and blocked shots (38). He also leads the team in equipment: He wears a mouth guard, shin pads and elbow pads.
The equipment is insurance against his suffering any more injuries. Whearty missed his sophomore year because of a torn triceps; missed nine games last season because of a broken wrist; and missed his junior year of high school following knee surgery.
That injury meant he also missed attention from college recruiters during the most important year of high school in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. The situation was exacerbated because he did not play AAU basketball; he opted instead to be a pitcher for his school's baseball team.
Holy Cross only found out about him after they received a letter from his mother.
"We sent letters to all the colleges he was interested in, and I had Patrick make up a basketball resume," Marie Whearty said. "Then, I was on the phone with Holy Cross to get the dates of an academic open house they were having, and while I was on the phone I asked to be transferred to the basketball office. I spoke to one of the assistant coaches there and he thought it was kind of cute, that somebody's mother would call. But he also was very gracious. We told him Patrick would be at [a tournament], and he said he would go."
Though Whearty is the league player of the year, he is not even the first person in his dorm room to claim the award. Senior starting forward Tim Szatko, Whearty's roommate, was the player of the year in 2001-02.
Whearty had won one trophy this year: He was the most valuable player of the school's winter homecoming victory over Lafayette. He said he would give the trophy to his mother, though she said he has yet to do so.
"That was the first trophy he'd gotten in a long time," Marie Whearty said. "He said he'd give it to his mother, but so far he's kept it in his room. It's okay, I understand."
-- Christian Swezey