HANCEVILLE, ALA. – Wallace State's men's basketball team is a champion in the classroom for the 2017-2018 academic year.
The Lions have earned distinction as the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Academic Team of the Year for men's basketball after compiling a cumulative 3.48 GPA this past season.
John Meeks' squad is one of 27 programs in the country to be named a NJCAA Academic Team of the Year.
"Academics is No. 1 for us from the first day our players come to campus. It's more important than any accomplishments on the court. We try our best to make sure our players leave here with a degree. That's something they can count on for the rest of their lives," Meeks said. "The credit goes to many people, but the guys who achieved this have an individual concern for their grades and academics. They don't want to slide by and earn the bare minimum. They want to do their best and get the highest grade possible. I'm proud of them."
Wallace State men's basketball had eight players recognized last week for individual academic achievements, ultimately propelling the Lions to the team award. Geordan Walker, Max Clark, Jerry Lwamba, Chris Rollins, Demarkus Lampley and Mike Johnson achieved All-Academic 2nd-team status with GPA's between 3.80-3.99, and Jonathan Andre and Kevin Wharton-Price were 3rd-team honorees with a GPA between 3.60-3.79.
Southwest Mississippi Community College's 3.35 GPA was the next highest GPA in men's basketball.
Wallace State's men's basketball team earned the first NJCAA Academic Team of the Year award for the college since men's golf did the same in 2009-2010.
"Our guys are excited about the recognition. Basketball is the longest true season that exists, and it takes discipline to stay focused and on top of things. Our team is excited to set a high academic bar and culture for future teams," Meeks said.
Wallace State's academic achievements don't stop there. Eight other teams were named NJCAA honorable mention for earning a 3.0 GPA or better as a group.
Wallace State's volleyball team boasted a school and conference-best 3.59 GPA. Randy Daniel's squad had 11 players earn individual academic accolades, including having Emily Wilson, Kati Thomas, Katie Edwards and Lexie Riggins each finish with a 4.0 GPA.
Wallace State softball came in next with a conference-best 3.52 GPA as a unit. A.J. Daugherty's group had 12 players recognized last week for individual awards, including Alysia Anderson and Jodie Farnetti with perfect 4.0 GPAs.
Women's tennis registered a 3.41 GPA and Wallace Sate's women's basketball team was tops in the conference with a 3.39 GPA behind seven players earning individual honors, including Jada Golden with a 4.0. Tennis is coached by Tony Franklin and women's basketball by Jessica McBrayer.
The cross country teams, coached by Stan Narewski, each finished atop the conference. The women's team possessed a 3.29 GPA, while the men owned a 3.09 GPA. For the women, Taylor Barkley had a 4.0 GPA.
Wallace State's baseball team earned a 3.09 GPA with Palmer Ford and Garrett Brown each finishing with a 4.0. Baseball is coached by Randy Putman.
Rounding out the NJCAA All-Academic honorable mention teams at Wallace State is the women's golf team. The Lady Lions finished with a 3.03 GPA. Freshman Anna Williams had a 4.0.
Wallace State had a record 51 student-athletes recognized for individual academic accomplishments last week.
A total of 739 programs in the country earned a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.