MOON TOWNSHIP, Pa. — Robert Morris starting point guard Dante Treacy was named the NEC tournament Most Valuable Player following the Colonials’ 77-67 championship game win against Saint Francis on Tuesday night.
Over the three-game tournament, Treacy averaged 12.3 points – while shooting 65% — and dished out 5.7 assists per game. In the championship game, he scored a team-high 18 points and five assists, as he guarded first-team All-NEC foe, Isaiah Blackmon, on the other side of the court.
Treacy, not known for his scoring duties, made timely buckets all game, whether it was getting his “puppies organized” and confidently knocking in 3-pointers – making two of his four attempts — or crafting his way through the lane and finishing with his soft touch near the rim.
He has come up huge at the right time, but his journey to this point has not been as smooth the way he commands an offense.
Treacy, a 6-foot 170-pound sophomore, has averaged just 5.5 points and 3.1 assists in his first 64 games in a Colonials uniform. A season ago, during his freshman year, he played in 31 games, but didn’t get a starting nod once, and scored in double figures only twice all year.
He wasn’t thrilled with how he performed, but he didn’t feel sorry for himself. Instead, he responded by doing the only thing he knows. … And that’s by working hard.
“Guys just kept telling me to believe in myself,” Treacy said of his play coming into this season. “A lot of blood, sweat, and tears. I went home for the summer and just worked. I don’t think I took a day off. I worked with my brother, my pops, just doing what we did to get me here. We just stuck to that, and when I got (back) here, I worked even harder.”
The results have been alarming, especially the latter half of this season.
The Orlando, Florida native plays with a different kind of flare than the average basketball player. Each time he sets up an assist, Treacy bends down to pick up that dime that he just dropped. That’s only one way to describe that said flare. With his relatively small stature, he uses his unique confidence, IQ, and will to win in order to stand out.
Oh, and one other word to describe Treacy: tough
Around the time Treacy committed to RMU in the summer of 2018, Colonials head coach Andy Toole pondered two questions to his assistant coach Mike Iuzzolino. Toole asked, “What do we think this guy’s (Treacy) cap is? What do we think he can become?”
Iuzzolino responded, “I don’t know, I just know he’s tough.”
Now, even with Treacy going from a player who could give some spot minutes off of the bench to one of the top contributors on an NCAA tournament team, it’s not a surprise to Toole at all.
“The game honors toughness, and he’s as tough as they come,” Toole added. “We weren’t talking in the summer about him being a starter and playing 30 plus minutes per game. Because of the way he works, because he’s always willing to do whatever it takes, opportunities and success follows that.
“He doesn’t back down; he’s locked in every day … He’s as rock-solid as they come.”
During the postgame press conference, Treacy shook his head in disbelief of what he had just experienced. All of his hard work had seemed to pay off once the final seconds ticked away on Tuesday night.
And like the rest of his teammates, Treacy jolted around the court beaming with excitement in the next seconds as the time on the game clock expired.
“I ran to the whole team,” Treacy added. “I chest bumped Sayveon (McEwen) at the end, and then I ended up hopping the gate and going to my family. Just embracing that moment with them.”
That moment will surely last forever, regardless of how the rest of Dante Treacy’s story is written.