Senior Holton Hunsaker received an unprecedented honor for the Utah Valley University men's basketball program when he was named to the Capital One Academic All-America Division I second team on Thursday.
He is the first men's basketball player at UVU and just the second Wolverine athlete to be named Academic All-America. Baseball's Billy Burgess was named to the third team in 2012. Hunsaker is also the first men's basketball player from a Division I program in Utah to be named Academic All-America since Hanno Mottola of Utah in 1999.
"This is a tremendous honor for a truly special young man," UVU Director of Athletics Vince Otoupal said. "His drive and passion on both the basketball court and in the classroom epitomizes the Wolverine way. And while this award also speaks volumes to the quality professors and academic staff we have here at UVU, it is first and foremost a testament to Holton's unique and unprecedented dedication to leadership, work ethic and toughness that he has clearly employed in all areas of his life."
Hunsaker holds a 3.88 cumulative GPA and will graduate in April with a degree in accounting. He adds the All-America recognition to his already large list of athletic and academic accolades.
"This is an unexpected but well-earned recognition for not only Holton and the men's basketball program but for the athletic department," his father and head coach Dick Hunsaker said. "I couldn't be happier for him and the Utah Valley University family for this honor."
Hunsaker is a two-time Capital One Academic All-District 8 Team member, the 2012-13 Great West Conference Scholar-Athlete of the Year, a three-time All-Great West Conference performer and a two-time Academic All-Great West Conference selection. He was also named to the Division I-AAA Athletic Directors Association Scholar Athlete team in 2012-13.
On the hardwood, Hunsaker leads the Wolverines with 13.7 points per game and 4.0 assists per game.
He was also a Senior CLASS candidate earlier this season, and his academic credentials will also garner him Academic All-WAC recognition when that team is announced later in the spring. Hunsaker spent the summer of 2013 interning in Washington, D.C., for Utah senator Orrin Hatch.
"This recognition means a great deal to me and it's certainly fulfilling to see all the hard work I've put in come to fruition in this way," Holton Hunsaker said. "I'm very thankful for the support of my wife and of my mother, and especially that of my professors. They've always been more than willing to give me the extra help I need when I've been on the road with team, and they truly made this possible by always making themselves available to me as I worked through the various time constraints that come with being a student-athlete."
Senior point guard Aaron Craft of Ohio State University leads first team, receiving the honor for the third straight season. Seniors Brayden Carlson (South Dakota State), Melvin Ejim (Iowa State) and J.J. Mann (Belmont) join graduate student Drew Crawford (Northwestern) to round out the Capital One Academic All-America Division I men's basketball first team.
Joining Hunsaker on the second team are fellow seniors Jordan Dykstra (South Dakota State), Dennis Ogbe (Tennessee Tech) and Kendrick Perry (Youngstown State). Sophomore Marcus Paige of North Carolina completes the second team. The third team is comprised of juniors Matt Townsend (Yale) and Thomas van der Mars (Portland), seniors Malte Kramer (Pepperdine) and Patric Young (Florida), and graduate student Beau Levesque (Saint Mary's).
To be eligible for Academic All-America consideration, a student-athlete must be a varsity starter or key reserve, maintain a cumulative G.P.A. of 3.30 on a scale of 4.00, have reached sophomore athletic and academic standings at his/her current institution and be nominated by his/her sports information director.
Kellen Hiser is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.