DENVER – July 20, 2010 – Eight of Johnson & Wales University’s (JWU) 2009-10 varsity basketball players have been recognized for their academic achievements and athleticism by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC). JWU’s eight honorees represent the most of any other collegiate program in the nation. An annual award, the NABC Honors Court recognizes academic excellence through all divisions of college basketball, including NCAA Division I, II, III, and NAIA institutions. To qualify, junior and senior basketball players must have maintained a cumulative GPA of 3.2 or higher throughout the 2009-10 season. JWU's winners are:
Christopher Brunson of Commerce City, Colo., is one of the athletes recognized for his commitment to academics and perseverance on the basketball court. Brunson, a Daniels Fund Opportunity Scholarship recipient, is the youngest of six siblings. He is not only a first-generation college graduate, but a first-generation high school graduate. Brunson is also committed to making a difference in the community. As a JWU student, he has worked with Smith Elementary School in Denver and designed and implemented an organized recess program to decrease bullying and resolve conflict on the playground. Matt Gray, JWU’s civic engagement programs manager, says, “Chris is one of the most dedicated and successful students in giving back to the community that I’ve ever worked with.” This spirit resonated with many of the JWU basketball players. Jeff Culver, varsity men’s basketball coach, said, “I am immensely proud of the student-athletes receiving this honor. [They] work tirelessly on their academic pursuits and on their ability to enhance the team’s performance. They certainly deserve this acknowledgement for their heart and determination both on and off the court.” “Participation in athletics reinforces the discipline, teamwork and leadership skills that students learn in the classroom,” reiterates Denver Campus President, Bette Matkowski. “All of this combines to benefit them in the workforce as well.” Founded in 1927 by Phog Allen, the legendary basketball coach at the University of Kansas, the NABC currently claims nearly 5,000 members, primarily university and college men's basketball coaches.