OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (iupuijags.com) - IUPUI senior guard Khufu Najee has been named among 30 finalists for the 2014-15 Senior CLASS Award for excellence both on and off the basketball court. Najee is the lone men's player in The Summit League to be among this year's 30 finalists and the first in school history to be considered for the award from the men's basketball program.
Najee was a 2014 Summit League All-Newcomer Team selection as a junior after averaging 9.9 points per game for the Jaguars. The Berkeley, Calif.-native took a circuitous route through college basketball before ultimately finding a home in Indianapolis. He originally committed to play at San Jose State but walked away from the game due to tough family circumstances. He later excelled in two different junior colleges before being recruited to IUPUI.
Academically, he's maintained a 3.71 grade point average and completed his undergraduate work last summer. He's now pursuing his Master's degree in Sports Journalism. Last year, he was one of the few student-athletes selected to participate in the NCAA Mock Selection process, getting a behind-the-scenes look at the tournament selection process at the NCAA National Headquarters.
Read more about Najee's candidacy by clicking here.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities. Of the 60 candidates (30 men and 30 women), 27 have grade point averages of 3.5 or higher. Three of this year's candidates were 2013-14 CoSIDA Capital One Academic All-Americans and four are returning All-Americans. More than 20 of the 32 Division I basketball-playing conferences are represented as well.
The Senior CLASS Award winners will be announced during the 2015 NCAA Men's Final Four, which will be co-hosted by IUPUI at Lucas Oil Stadium.
The 30 candidate class will be narrowed to 10 finalists later in the regular season and those 10 names will be placed on the official ballot. Ballots will be distributed through a nationwide voting system to media, coaches and fans, who will select one male and one female candidate who best exemplify excellence the four C's of community, classroom, character and competition.
For more information on the candidates, visit SeniorCLASSAward.com.
|2014-15 Men's Basketball Candidates|
|Alex Barlow, Butler||Reece Chamberlain, Belmont|
|Michael Cobbins, Oklahoma State||Pat Connaughton, Notre Dame|
|Justin Gant, Indiana State||Seth Gearhart, Rice|
|Jordan Green, Texas A&M||Ryann Green, Georgia State|
|D'Angelo Harrison, St. John's||Tyler Haws, BYU|
|Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin||Ashton Moore, The Citadel|
|Khufu Najee, IUPUI||D.J. Newbill, Penn State|
|Kevin Pangos, Gonzaga||Corey Petros, Oakland|
|Ishaq Pitt, Maryland-Eastern Shore||Norman Powell, UCLA|
|Chasson Randle, Stanford||Levi Randolph, Alabama|
|Josh Richardson, Tennessee||Luke Roh, Colgate|
|Corey Schaefer, Lehigh||John Schoof, American|
|Matt Stainbrook, Xavier||Juwan Staten, West Virginia|
|Matt Townsend, Yale||Cameron Wright, Pittsburgh|
|Max Yon, Air Force||Thomas van der Mars, Portland|
ABOUT SUMMIT LEAGUE MEN'S BASKETBALL
In its fourth decade of Division I athletics, The Summit League features men's basketball teams from nine member institutions: Denver, Fort Wayne, IUPUI, North Dakota State, Omaha, Oral Roberts, South Dakota, South Dakota State and Western Illinois. Over the past five seasons (2010-14), The Summit League owns the nation's highest RPI gain (+9). In 2013-14, The Summit League had three teams advance in national postseason tournaments, highlighted by an NCAA Tournament Round of 64 victory, recorded its third consecutive top-20 RPI finish, achieved an all-time high USA Today Sagarin rating, and saw a record 10 former players on NBA and D-League rosters. The Summit League Basketball Championships, called "March's Best-Kept Secret" by USA Today and among the most attended tournaments in the nation, move into the brand-new Denny Sanford PREMIER Center in Sioux Falls, S.D., March 7-10, 2015. For more information about the league and to "See The Summit", visit www.thesummitleague.org, follow Summit League Basketball on Twitter @summithoops, download The Summit League's Front Row app and watch the weekly "Inside The Summit League" show at www.thesummitleague.org/itsl.