SMU Men’s Basketball Announces Team Awards

April 16, 2011  

by Erica Penunuri

The SMU Men’s Basketball team celebrated the decade’s most successful season at Doubletree Campbell Center on Thursday.

With their first 20-win season, first post-season bid since 1999-2000, and finishing 20-15 in the Tournament (CIT), its no wonder the 2010-2011 season has brought awards to individual players as well.

Senior and one of the Tri-Captains, Papa Dia brought home a slew of awards including; MVP, the Screener, Blocks/Deflections, Rebounds and Charges. He took his captain role to another level as he led the team throughout the season with impressive personal records.

Dia has taken 12th at SMU in points (1437), fourth in rebounds (911), fifth in blocked shots (143) and 10th in field goal percentage (51.8). The forward’s talents have also earned him spots in the following teams: 2011 CIT All-Tournament Team, NABC Division I All-District First Team, All-C-USA First Team and C-USA All-Defensive Team.

Dia also recently participated in the Portsmouth Invitational Tournment (PIT) that had only extended invites to 64 college players across the nation.

The Most Improved Player title, received by junior Robert Nyakundi, recognized the athlete’s skills and progress. From the 3-pont range, Nyakundi has set SMU and Conference-USA records. Shooting a hot 49.7 percent from behind the arc, the junior forward took second in NCAA and first in C-USA for 3-pointers.

Hitting 90 percent this season in free throws (tying the school’s record), the junior forward also took home the Free Throw Percentage Award.

Senior guard Ryan Harp received the Coach’s Award, senior Collin Mangrum finished his only season with SMU with the Hustle Award, senior guard Mike Walker earned the Defense Award, and freshman point-guard Jeremiah Samarrippas received the Best Assist to Turnover Ratio and Good Plays.

Junior guard Aliaksei Patsevich earned the team’s Academic Award and was named to the Conference USA Commissioner’s Honor Roll.

Coach Doherty and the six seniors all spoke at the ceremony not only about the past season but plans for the team’s future.

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