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Hedgepeth, Saunders Receive National Awards

Hedgepeth, Saunders Receive National Awards

CLEVELAND, Ohio - - Belmont University men's basketball seniors Mick Hedgepeth (Crossville, Ala.) and Scott Saunders (New Orleans, La.) have been named to the 2011-12 Division I-AAA Athletics Directors Association (DI-AAA ADA) Men's Basketball Scholar-Athlete Team, the organization announced Tuesday.

Hedgepeth was also named recipient of the 2011-12 postgraduate scholarship for men's basketball.

This is the latest in a long line of academic and civic awards for Hedgepeth, Saunders, and the Bruin program.

Hedgepeth, who just returned from New Orleans and the 2012 Final Four as one of 10 finalists for the prestigious Lowe's Senior CLASS Award, is a two-time Capital One Academic All-District First Team selection. The 6-9 forward/center has received academic-all conference honors all four years, and this year was one of just six student-athletes named to the inaugural Atlantic Sun Academic All-Conference Team for men's basketball.

On the court, Hedgepeth left a lasting imprint upon the Bruin record book. In Belmont's NCAA era, Hedgepeth ranks in the top 10 in five career statistical categories; first in games played (134), third in rebounds (692), fourth in blocked shots (78), fifth in field goal percentage (.540) and ninth in scoring (1,191). Hedgepeth was a two-time Second Team All-Atlantic Sun honoree and the 2011 Atlantic Sun Tournament Most Valuable Player.

The reigning Belmont University Male Student-Athlete of the Year, Hedgepeth holds a 3.70 GPA in his chosen major of accounting. The Crossville, Ala. native plans to pursue a master of accountancy upon graduation from Belmont in May.

This is the second straight year Hedgepeth has been named to the DI-AAA ADA Men's Basketball Scholar-Athlete Team.

Saunders likewise was a worthy selection. A two-time Captial One Academic All-America – one of only two men's basketball student-athletes (Tyler Zeller, North Carolina) so honored in both 2011 and 2012 – the 6-10 forward/center joined Hedgepeth in having received academic-all conference honors all four years, and this year was one of just six student-athletes named to the inaugural Atlantic Sun Academic All-Conference Team for men's basketball.

All told, Saunders tallied 1,030 career points and 556 career rebounds, and ranks third in the Bruins' NCAA era in blocked shots (94). He recorded 40 double figure scoring games and was a 2011 Second Team All-Atlantic Sun honoree.

Saunders holds a 3.84 GPA in his chosen majors of finance and marketing.

This marks the sixth and seventh time a Belmont men's basketball player has been named to the DI-AAA ADA Men's Basketball Scholar-Athlete Team, joining Justin Hare (2007, 2008), Hedgepeth (2011), Adam Mark (2004) and Andy Wicke (2009).

Hedgepeth and Saunders were two of only 11 men's basketball student-athletes in the nation so honored.

As a postgraduate scholarship recipient, Hedgepeth will receive $5,000 towards postgraduate studies. The award will be presented at the annual National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) Convention in Dallas, June 25-28.

Basketball players from all Division I-AAA ADA member institutions are eligible for these prestigious awards. Each of the nominees was required to have a minimum grade point average of 3.20 (on a 4.00 scale) in undergraduate study and have been a starter or important reserve with legitimate athletics credentials.

He must have reached junior athletics and academic standing at the nominated institution (true freshmen, red-shirt freshmen and ineligible athletics transfers are not eligible) and have completed at least three academic semesters/five quarters at the nominated institution. Nominated student-athletes must have participated in at least 50 percent of the team's games listed on the nomination form.

A special Review Committee of Division I-AAA athletics directors was responsible for selecting the winners. Completing this task were Committee Chair Tim Hall; Pete Carlon, Texas Arlington; Don DiJulia, St. Joseph's; Gene Doris, Fairfield; Bill Husak, Loyola Marymount; Jean Lenti Ponsetto, DePaul; and Dave Mullins, East Tennessee State.

For more information, log onto www.nacda.com.

Official Release