By Heather Kuch
Although the Ohio Wesleyan men’s basketball season ended two weeks ago, senior point guard Andy Winters continues to receive honors for his play this season.
Winters was named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) All-America first team, was named Great Lakes District Player of the Year and was a first-team All-Great Lakes District selection by the NABC.
Additionally, he was a first-team All-Great Lakes Region selection, a Great Lakes Region Player of the Year, a North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) first-team selection, and was named NCAC Player of the Year.
Winters said he felt honored to receive these awards and said his teammates and coaching staff played a key role in his achievements.
“I know the amount of talent in the Great Lakes Region and I can’t thank Coach DeWitt enough because he made it possible for me to prove myself,” he said. “Going into the games I had so much confidence in my team that I knew if I just went out and played as hard as I could each game, good things would happen not only for me, but for our team.”
Senior Greg White, a member of the men’s basketball team, said he was proud of his teammate’s achievements this season.
“Andy receiving these awards really shows how far this program has come,” he said. “He is the epitome of what an OWU basketball player is. I couldn’t be more proud to have had the opportunity to play alongside him and share in his accomplishments.”
As a point guard, Winters led the NCAC and ranks fifth in the nation in assists with an average of 7.0 per game, and his assist/turnover ratio of 2.62/1 led the NCAC and ranked him 14th nationally.
Winters’s average of 14.1 points per game ranks him ninth in the conference in scoring. The NCAC also ranked him third in steals (1.6/game), 12th in field goal percentage (.473) and 13th in free throw percentage (.731).
Winters said he felt “humbled and privileged” when he received the conference awards for his performance this season.
“The NCAC is a great league and I’m happy I could represent Ohio Wesleyan,” he said. “My great coaching staff and teammates contributed to me winning this award. I feel satisfied because of the hard work I put in over the past four years.”
Senior Marshall Morris, a member of the men’s basketball team, said it was “hard work” over the past four years that has made Winters into the basketball player he is today.
“I started playing with Andy as a freshman,” he said. “I remember the first game that we both started our freshman year…that was the first indication that he was there to work hard and get better…(U)ltimately, he was awarded for that hard work over the course of four years.”
Winters’s most recent award was his selection to play in the Reese’s Division III All-Star game, which took place on March 23 at the Salem Civic Center in Salem, Va., prior to the NCAA Division III semifinal contests. Two senior athletes were selected from each of the eight regions in Division III by a panel of coaches in the NABC, and two additional senior athletes were selected by online voting from D3Hoops.com.
Winters’s participation in the All-Star game marks the second straight season in which OWU has been represented in the contest; Tim Brady ’12 played for the West team last year. Winters also played for the West squad under the leadership of Albion coach Mike Turner.
Head men’s basketball coach Mike DeWitt said the effort Winters put in during his career is what led to his accomplishments this season.
“I am extremely happy for and proud of Andy for all of the post-season awards and honors he is receiving,” DeWitt said. “It is especially gratifying knowing how hard he has worked during his time here at Ohio Wesleyan, and he is certainly deserving of the recognition he is getting.”
The Bishops finished the season with a 23-6 record, ranked second in the conference with an 11-5 record and claimed the NCAC tournament title. The team also advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division III tournament.
Morris said the team’s accomplishments this season reflect the work ethic of the senior class.
“I think it’s a true testament of how committed our group of seniors have been,” he said. “It’s rare to retain all of the seniors you start with…it was a true team effort for what we accomplished.”
White agreed with Morris and said the seniors wanted to leave behind a legacy.
“I think the past four years, we have all worked really hard to bring OWU back to a nationally ranked program,” he said. “We took pride and set the foundation for years to come.”
Winters said it is not only the work that the seniors put in on the court that led to a successful season, but rather the bonds that they formed with the entire team.
“My most memorable moment was the countless times our team spent together off the court and the friendships we will have forever,” he said. “I want to tell the returning players that hard work will pay off if you put everything you can into it.”