Squires selected First Team All-State; Safford All-Rookie
LEWISTON, Maine — The Bates men’s basketball team had two players receive all-state honors on Friday, with the release of the Maine Men’s Basketball Coaches and Writers Association’s year-end awards. Senior forward John Squires received First Team All-State honors, and first-year guard Graham Safford was named to the All-Rookie Team.
Safford (Hampden, Maine) served as a regular in the Bobcats’ rotation from the very first game of the season, when he set Bates’ single-game steals record with eight swipes in a win over UMaine-Fort Kent. Safford played in all 26 games, averaging 20.3 minutes per game, and making 10 starts, averaging 6.8 points, 2.9 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.2 steals per game. His top performances included a season-high 19 points in a loss to top-ranked Middlebury on Jan. 6, and an 18-point, six-rebound game in an overtime win at Emerson on Dec. 5.
Squires (Swampscott, Mass.) stepped admirably into an increased role in his senior season, averaging 13.7 points, 9.3 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 0.7 blocks in 28.3 minutes per game. Coming off the bench in 2010-11, Squires averaged 6.7 points and 4.6 rebounds in 15.5 minutes per game.
Squires not only amassed an impressive 12 double-doubles on the year — including eight over a nine-game stretch — but he played some of his biggest games when Bates needed it most. For instance, his buzzer-beating tip-in sunk Trinity, 60-59, on Feb. 4, and in Bates’ NESCAC quarterfinal matchup at Tufts he scored 25 points with 13 rebounds as the Bobcats upset the higher-seeded Jumbos. Over his last 10 games, Squires scored 22 or more points four times.
This is the latest in a string of awards for the senior this year. Squires won Second Team All-NESCAC honors at forward on Feb. 29. During the season, he received three Maine Player of the Week honors from the MMBCWA, and one from the NESCAC. The football season culminated with being named to the NESCAC Football First Team Offense as a wide receiver.
Bates finished the season 13-13, with their second appearance in the NESCAC Championship semifinals in the past three years, and the No. 2 ranking in the state Top 5 poll.