ANCHORAGE - Senior All-American Luke Cooper, who helped power the Alaska Anchorage men’s basketball team to the NCAA Semifinals for just the second time in school history, was named the 2007-08 UAA Athlete of the Year at the athletic department’s 24th annual end-of-year banquet, Sunday at the Hilton Anchorage Hotel.
Cooper, a 6-0 point guard, adds the prestigious award to a long list of honors this season, including First Team All-America by Division II Bulletin and Second Team All-America by Basketball Times. He was also the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Player of the Year, an All-West Region pick in both the coaches’ (NABC) and sports information directors’ (Daktronics) voting, and one of 16 finalists for the Bob Cousy Award as the nation’s top point guard.
The Melbourne, Australia, native led NCAA Division II in assists per game with 8.9 and ranked second nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio at 3.56-to-1. Also averaging a career-best 7.7 points per game, he helped the Seawolves to the best record in program history at 29-6, their first-ever GNAC title, and a trip to the NCAA Div. II Elite Eight in Springfield, Mass.
Cooper’s 310 total assists in 2007-08 and his 880 career assists both rank No. 4 on the single-season and all-time lists for NCAA Div. II. In terms of career assists per game, Cooper finished No. 11 with 7.3 apg.
In 2007-08, he dished double-digit assists on 15 occasions – including school records of 18 against Saint Martin’s and 17 against Montana State Billings – and 32 times in his 4-year career.
Cooper becomes the eighth men’s basketball player to capture the AOY Award and the third in the last five years.
The award, sponsored by the Benton Bay Athletic Lions Club and UAA Athletics, is voted on by a committee of UAA Athletics staff, Benton Bay members and local media.
The other 2008 nominees were Joanna Johnson (volleyball), Rebecca Kielpinski (women’s basketball), David Kiplagat (men’s cross country/track & field), Mary Pearce (women’s track & field), Jessica Portlock (gymnastics), David Registe (men’s track & field), Kristina Repcinova (women’s skiing), Mat Robinson (hockey), and Raphael Wunderle (men’s skiing).
UAA Athletes of the Year
Year Winner - Sport
2008 Luke Cooper - Men's Basketball
2007 Rebecca Kielpinski - Women’s Basketball
2006 Kemmy Burgess - Men’s Basketball
2005 Mandy Kaempf - Women’s Skiing/Cross Country Running
2004 Peter Bullock - Men’s Basketball
2003 Tobias Schwoerer - Men’s Skiing/Cross Country Running
2002 Tobias Schwoerer - Men’s Skiing/Cross Country Running
2001 Ed Kirk - Men’s Basketball
2000 Edda Mutter - Women’s Skiing
1999 Jim Hajdukovich - Men’s Basketball
1998 Zuzana Razusova - Women’s Skiing
1997 Frode Lillefjell - Men’s Skiing/Cross Country Running
(tie) Elena Tkacheva - Gymnastics
1996 Allegra Stoetzel - Women’s Basketball
1995 Jason Kaiser - Men’s Basketball
(tie) Karen Hoey - Gymnastics
1994 Kerry Robitaille - Gymnastics
1993 Jennie Szczerbinski - Volleyball
1992 Jon Pauole - Swimming
1991 Paul Krake - Hockey
1990 Teri Frankie - Gymnastics
1989 Michael Johnson - Men’s Basketball
1988 Robin Graul - Women’s Basketball
1987 Hansi Gnad - Men’s Basketball
1986 Teri Frankie - Gymnastics
1985 Tiina Kantola - Women’s Skiing/Cross Country Running