SAN ANTONIO (May 3, 2012) -- The Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU) men's basketball team hosted its annual spring banquet on Thursday evening. The event each year is held to celebrate the team's accomplishments and to recognize those student-athletes who excelled throughout the season.
The Saints finished the season with a 27-8 overall record and a 21-3 record and the regular season crown in the Red River Athletic Conference. The team lost out to LSU-Shreveport in the conference tournament championship game; however, the Saints earned a berth in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Men's Basketball DI Championship Tournament in Kansas City, Mo. The Saints won the first round game against Baker University, but lost the Sweet 16 round game against Biola University in overtime.
OLLU closed out the season with nine top rankings in the NAIA, including total scoring offense and scoring offense per game, total assists and assists per game, total steals and steals per game, total 3-point field goals made and total made per game and turnover margin. The Saints had the second longest winning streak in the NAIA this year – 15 games, and they also led the nation in the number of times they scored 100 points or more – 18 times. Incredibly, the Saints lost just one game at home this season – on Nov. 19 against Oklahoma City University.
Coach Russell Vanlandingham received conference coach of the year, while senior Marco Cooper was named to the All-Conference First Team. Robert Martinez and Josh Orta were selected to the All-Conference Second Team and Ricardo Zanini received All-Conference Honorable Mention.
On Thursday evening, Coach Vanlandingham presented the following annual individual awards:
|Sister Ann Petrus Sixth Man Award – Marcus Thompson. Thompson has not missed a game in the two years he has been at OLLU. He is among the leaders in assists/turnover ratio, assists and steals. He recorded 10 assists three times this year with an average of 4.31 assists per game. Thompson also excels in the classroom. Thompson is pictured with Sr. Dianne Heinrich and Sr. Patrice Sullivan, both of whom were there as representatives of Sr. Ann Petrus, who was not able to attend.|
|Dr. Tessa Martinez Pollack Dedication Award – Ricardo Zanini. Zanini averaged 12.62 points per game this year, and he became the second member of the Saints 1,000 point club after reaching that milestone during the post season. He was ranked nationally in total steals, 3-point field goal percentage, total 3-point field goals made and free-throw percentage. Zanini had five double-doubles this season. He has been named a scholar athlete all three years he has been at OLLU. During the national tournament, Zanini was selected as the player that most demonstrated a Champions of Character attitude. Zanini is pictured with Anne Gomez, Director of Marketing and Communications at OLLU.|
Jack Hank Hustle Award – Marcel Campos. Campos completed his first season at OLLU. Prior to joining the Saints squad, he was a member of the Brazilian National Team. He was ranked nationally in assists/turnover margin and has excelled in the classroom, as well. Campos is pictured with Jack Hank, Vice President for Student Life/Athletic Director.
Roy D. Terracina Top Saint Award-- Marco Cooper. Cooper averaged 15 points a game this year and was ranked No. 1 in the conference in field goal percentage. He has recorded 12 rebounds three times this year, and he finished the season with 913 points. Cooper was selected as NAIA All-America Honorable Mention, and he received player of the week in the conference twice this season. He recorded seven double-doubles this year. Cooper is pictured with Roy Terracina, Chairman of the Board of Trustees at OLLU.
The event was hosted by Shawn George and his wife, Channelle, at their home in Northeast San Antonio. George is the owner of Elite Lighting Designs and is a long-time supporter of OLLU men's basketball.
The NAIA Champions of Character program aims to instill five core values in NAIA athletes, coaches: respect, responsibility, integrity, servant leadership, and sportsmanship. Our Lady of the Lake University shares and supports these values and strives to promote the Champions of Character program by working with students, coaches through our Champions of Character educational program. For more information on the Champions of Character program, click here: www.championsofcharacter.org.
Luis A. Lárraga
Sports Information Assistant