BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Following the most successful season in program history, the Lehigh men’s basketball team held its annual “Zell” Awards Banquet on Saturday (Apr. 14) in the University Center. The dinner included a welcome from Associate Athletic Director Bill Griffin, remarks from the seniors, a team awards ceremony, special banquet video and more.
The Mountain Hawks won a school-record 27 games in 2011-12, going 11-3 in league play en route to their second Patriot League Championship in the last three years. Lehigh went on to defeat Duke, 75-70, in an NCAA Second Round Game before becoming the first #15 seed to also lead its ensuing game (vs. Xavier) at the half.
Junior C.J. McCollum received his second straight Athlete of the Year Award after leading Lehigh to its first NCAA Tournament victory - a memorable win over Duke - which marked just the fifth time in tournament history that a 15 seed has upended a #2 seed. McCollum recorded 30 points against the Blue Devils, with six assists and six rebounds. He finished the season fifth in the nation in scoring average (21.9 points per game). McCollum earned his second-career Patriot League Player of the Year honor while garnering MVP of the Patriot League Tournament, among numerous postseason honors.
McCollum withdrew from the NBA Draft last week and will return for a much-anticipated senior season with the Mountain Hawks. He currently owns 2,074 career points, good for second in school history and third in league history, just 150 behind the Patriot League record (2,224).
Junior Gabe Knutson earned the Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award, matching an outstanding on-court performance with strong work in the classroom. The Iowa native averaged 12.2 points per game, 5.6 rebounds to earn Second Team All-League honors for the first time in his career. He was also named to the Academic All-Patriot League Team for the second time in as many seasons. Knutson owns a strong 3.26 GPA as an Accounting major.
Senior Jordan Hamilton received the Coaches Award, recognizing outstanding leadership and work ethic, both on and off the court. Hamilton was the only player besides McCollum to start all 35 Lehigh games. He proved to be a key factor in several big contests, using his senior leadership and experience to guide the Mountain Hawks in crucial moments. That included a big dunk in the closing minutes against Duke, finishing with eight points. Hamilton averaged 6.5 points per game for the season, led by a career-high 23 in a hard-fought 90-80 win at Liberty in November.
David Joseph, Executive Director of Student Auxiliary Services at Lehigh, received the Sixth Man award. Joseph, a loyal supporter of the basketball program, last won the award in 2009.
Check out the complete 2011-12 banquet video below.