NATCHITOCHES,La – The Northwestern State men’s basketball team found itself in heady company Wednesday morning when the National Association of Basketball Coaches announced its annual Team Academic Excellence Awards.
The Demons were one of 38 Division I men’s basketball teams honored by the association. Northwestern State was one of 188 NCAA, NAIA and NJCAA teams that maintained a 3.0 cumulative grade point average for the 2017-18 season.
“I think it’s important to be able to do the little things outside of just playing the game like taking care of your business academically,” head coach Mike McConathy said. “We’ve always had a high graduation rate. This year, to be able to have a great GPA and to be selected to this group is quite an honor.”
The Demons have posted a 3.0 GPA in each of the past four semesters despite a 2017-18 roster that included eight student-athletes who were in their first year at Northwesten State, including six freshmen.
As a team, the Demons posted an overall 3.01 GPA for the 2017-18 academic year – a 3.00 in the fall and a 3.03 in the spring semester.
“Our coaching staff does a great job as does our academic staff,” McConathy said. “Every day of contacting our young men, making sure we don’t fall behind is very, very important. If you stay on task, you have a chance to be successful on the court and in the classroom.”
The team award comes one year after then-senior guard Sabri Thompson’s inclusion on the NABC Honors Court in 2017.
The Demons were the lone Louisiana team and lone Southland Conference team on the NABC’s list.
“That speaks a lot for our institution and the importance we place on academics and education,” McConathy said. “We want our young men to finish with a degree, but we also want him to be well-rounded in other aspects. To do so well academically is a very important thing for us. It speaks highly of our staff and our institution.”