Strickland Named HCAC MVP; Shaw Coach of Year

strickland-dc2TERRE HAUTE, IND. -- Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology junior Julian Strickland (Indianapolis/Pike) was named Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Men's Basketball Player of the Year, and Jim Shaw earned Coach of the Year honors in awards released by the league office.

Strickland was joined by senior Austin Weatherford (Cicero/Hamilton Heights) as a first-team all-league selection.  Seniors Jon Gerken (Defiance, Ohio/Tinora) and Nate Gissentanner (Conyers, Ga./Rockdale County) captured honorable mention all-conference accolades.

Strickland averaged a team-high 14.5 points per game to lead a Rose-Hulman squad that won conference regular season and tournament championships in the same season for the first time in school history.  The civil engineering became the 29th member of Rose-Hulman's 1,000-point club and has tallied 1,082 points in his career.

Strickland becomes the third Fightin' Engineer in the coach Shaw era to earn Conference Player of the Year honors.  Previous award winners were Bryan Egli (1999 National Player of the Year) and Philip Griffith (2004).

In addition, Strickland captured his second career all-conference award.  He was also named HCAC Tournament Most Valuable Player during Rose-Hulman's 2012 title run at Transylvania that culminated with a career-high 30-point effort in the championship game.

Shaw captured fourth career Coach of the Year honor after leading Rose-Hulman to a 24-3 record and a 16-2 conference mark to win the regular season title.  The Fightin' Engineers backed up the effort by winning the league postseason tournament title with wins over Defiance and Hanover last weekend.

Shaw's squad recorded the second-longest winning streak in school history at 11 games, then tallied another eight-game streak later in the season.  The team's 24 wins this year tie the previous school record set by the 1976-77 NCAA Quarterfinal squad coached by John Mutchner.

Shaw enters the NCAA Division III Tournament with a career record of 281-214 to rank second in school history in wins (281) and winning percentage (.568).  His coaching staff includes fourth-year assistant coach Rusty Loyd and student assistant Blake Knotts.

weatherford-dpuWeatherford ranked second on the team with an average of 12.5 points per game and leads the squad with 95 assists and 39 steals.  His career point total of 1,194 points ranks 15th in school history.  Weatherford has crossed the 20-point mark in a game 14 times in his career.

Gerken averaged 7.6 points and 5.5 rebounds per game in 26 starts this season.  He has scored 755 career points in 106 appearances that also includes 77 starts as a Fightin' Engineer, and was also named to the conference all-sportsmanship team.

Gissentanner ranks third on the team in scoring at 7.8 points per game, including 10 double-figure scoring games this season.  His career totals include 107 appearances and 849 career points.

No. 19 ranked Rose-Hulman (24-3) squares off with No. 12 ranked Calvin (24-3) in the first round of the NCAA Division III Tournament on Saturday at 7 p.m. at Hulbert Arena.  The Fightin' Engineers and Knights are the only of 31 first round NCAA matchups that features two teams in the national top 20.