Men’s basketball honored for academic excellence for second time in three years

July 28, 2016 | Athletics, News
By Steve Easton

The Toledo men’s basketball team has received the National Association of Basketball Coaches Team Academic Excellence Award, the association announced Wednesday.

The award is in its fourth year of existence, and the Rockets have received the award in two of the last three years.

thumb-rocket-color-logoThe Team Academic Excellence Award recognizes NCAA and NAIA men’s basketball teams that earned a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better throughout the 2015-16 academic year. Of the 130 teams to make the list, only 26 were NCAA Division I-affiliated programs.

The Rockets posted a 3.16 GPA throughout the last two semesters, and their roster heading into the 2016-17 campaign possesses a 3.25 cumulative GPA. Zach Garber, Luke Knapke and Jordan Lauf led the way in the classroom last spring by each earning a spot on the University’s dean list.

Earlier this spring, the NCAA announced that the Rockets’ Academic Progress Rate score from the four-year period from 2011-12 to 2014-15 was 985, a figure that is tied for second in the Mid-American Conference.

Other NCAA Division I schools posting a 3.0 GPA in the 2015-16 academic year were American, Belmont, Bethune-Cookman, Bradley, Butler, Central Michigan, Denver, Duke, Eastern Washington, Harvard, Holy Cross, Louisville, New Mexico, North Dakota State, Northwestern, Northwestern State, Quinnipiac, Rice, Seton Hall, South Carolina, Stanford, Texas, Utah Valley, Vanderbilt, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Yale.

In addition, Garber and Lauf have been named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches Honors Court. Garber and Lauf are entering their senior seasons in the 2016-17 campaign.

To be eligible, a student-athlete has to be a member of the varsity squad with junior or senior status and hold a cumulative 3.2 GPA or higher at the conclusion of the academic year.

A business management major, Garber averaged 6.0 points per game and ranked second on the team with 4.8 rebounds per game in 18.3 minutes per contest. He led the Rockets with a 62.1 field-goal percentage (59 of 95) and ranked third in offensive rebounds (55) and free throws made (73). Garber tallied career-high 17 points and eight rebounds vs. Bethune-Cookman (Dec. 19) and collected a career-high 11 rebounds and scored seven points vs. Western Michigan (Feb. 2).

Lauf served as one of the Rockets’ top contributors off the bench and is majoring in business management. He averaged 4.6 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game in 24.2 minutes per game. Lauf tied for first on the team with 61 offensive rebounds and ranked second with 2.33 assist/turnover ratio (42:18 ratio) and fourth with 3.8 rebounds per game. He also possessed a 61.0 field-goal percentage (25 of 41), a 54.5 three-point field-goal percentage (6 of 11), and a 77.5 free-throw percentage (31 of 40) in MAC play.

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