Seniors honored at men's hoops banquet
ANCHORAGE - Taylor Rohde was chosen the Alaska Anchorage men's basketball team's Most Valuable Player for the second year in a row as all four Seawolf seniors received individual awards at the squad's 2011-12 year-end banquet at The Petroleum Club on Friday night.
Rohde, a 6-9, 255-pound center, was a consensus All-American, the West Region and Great Northwest Athletic Conference player-of-the-year and the Division II Bulletin National Player of the Year after leading the Seawolves to a No. 16 final ranking and an NCAA Second Round berth.
The Phoenix (Pinnacle HS) native and former Arizona State transfer led the GNAC in scoring (19.8), field-goal percentage (.627, 8th nationally) and double-doubles (9), and finished in a virtual three-way tie for the rebounding lead with 8.0 rpg. He was a double-figure scorer in 26 of 30 games and shot 50-plus percent from the floor in 25 of the last 26 contests. Rohde tallied 12 games of at least 25 points - including four outings of 30-plus. Among his most impressive performances were a 28-point, 16-rebound effort in a Nov. 25 victory over Division I UC Irvine and his 32 points and 11 rebounds in UAA's NCAA Tournament First Round win over Montana State Billings.
As a team, the Seawolves went 23-7- the second-best overall record in the program's 35 years - and 15-3 in the GNAC, finishing just one game behind eventual national champion Western Washington.
Fellow senior Steve White received both the Most Inspirational Player award and the Jim Hajdukovich Award - presented to the player who best displays physical toughness, endurance and court awareness. The 6-foot point guard from Manly, Australia, averaged 8.0 points on 51 percent shooting and a team-high 5.0 assists per game in his fourth and final season, finishing among the program's all-time leaders in assists (4th, 336), games played (6th, 113) and victories (t-4th, 76).
The Coaches' Award, bestowed for positive attitude and commitment to the team concept, went to senior Lonnie Ridgeway, a 5th-year senior from Anchorage's Heritage Christian High School. The 6-3 wing was UAA's 4th-leading scorer with 9.0 ppg, and 2nd-leading rebounder with 3.6 rpg, overcoming a midseason wrist injury that sidelined him for 11 games. Ridgeway finished his career No. 39 on UAA's all-time scoring list with 675 points, plus No. 12 in games played (102) and No. 6 in victories (6th, 72).
The Bob Zundel Rebounders Trophy - for the player who best displays the qualities of sportsmanship and leadership toward teammates, coaches, referees, opponents, media and fans - went to senior forward Phillip Hearn. The former West Anchorage High School star saw action in 27 games, averaging 2.6 points and 1.7 rebounds in his role as an 'energy' player and defensive stopper.
A pair of sophomores also took home awards as Travis Thompson received the Best Defensive Player and Kyle Fossman the Most Improved Player honors. Thompson, from Anchorage's Dimond High, was a Second Team All-GNAC pick at shooting guard, averaging 11.8 points, 3.9 assists and a team-high 1.2 steals per game. Fossman, a 6-foot guard from Haines, started 28 games and was UAA's third-leading scorer (10.5 ppg) in 2011-12 after playing just 6.8 minutes in 20 games off the bench as a true freshman.
Liam Gibcus, a 6-10 center from Lysterfield, Australia, earned his second straight Academic Achievement award for his 3.85 overall grade-point average as a civil engineering major. Gibcus's GPA was the second-best in the GNAC and tops among the league's nine U.S.-based institutions.
The MVP, Most Improved, Best Defensive and Most Inspirational awards were determined by a team vote.