Up to last week, men’s basketball co-captain Blake Schultz ’10 had had a successful season by any standard. He had been named NESCAC Player of the Year after leading the conference in scoring with a pre-NCAA tournament averages of 18.4 per game and 52 percent shooting; he had led his team to a 27-1 record, its best since the 2003-04 season, and its first undefeated run in the NESCAC since that same year and had helped the Ephs to garner post-season honors, as the team had its second NESCAC title of his tenure at Williams and had claimed the senior class’s first NCAA tournament win. And last weekend, he led the Ephs to the Final Four for the first time since that same 2003-04 season. This week, the Eph was named to the First All-Region Team, as well as claiming Regional Player of the Year Honors.
But before that, Schultz added one more honor to his truly remarkable season: He was awarded the Jostens Trophy, which goes to one basketball player nationally each year, for excellence on the court, in the class room and the community last Tuesday night.
The Jostens Trophy is awarded by a panel of 34 athletic administrators, former players, media members, coaches and elected officials to the student-athlete whom they deem is excellent in all three areas. There were 10 nominees for the award, which Schultz earned behind more than just the strength of his impressive season.
Schultz, who has a 3.29 GPA, is majoring in economics and taking a pre-med program of classes. Meanwhile, he fostered and organized the men’s basketball team’s relationship with the A Better Chance program in Williamstown and the local Berkshire Farm Center, a juvenile delinquent housing facility. But Schultz’s service to the Williams and Williamstown community hasn’t stopped there, as the Eph has been a member of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee for three years. In addition, he has been a part of the national Best Buddies program, which connects participants with mentally disabled youth.
After winning the award, Schultz came out on fire in the Ephs’ NCAA Regional semi-final and final last weekend, finishing with 21 points, five rebounds and three assists in the Ephs’ 104-70 victory over SUNYIT before leading Williams past Brandeis on Saturday, 71-57, with 29 points and 7 rebounds. Schultz shot 56 percent from the field for the weekend while going 18-18 from the free throw line. The victory over Brandeis gave the Ephs the right to play Guilford in the Final Four in Salem, Va. at 5 p.m. Friday.
Schultz remained humble about receiving the award. “I think a lot of the individual awards are more team-oriented than people realize,” he said. “I am not doing anything alone out there. [All my accolades] really are team awards.”
In fact, Schultz’s place in Eph history was secure long before he received the Jostens. He will finish his career fourth on the list of all-time scorers at Williams, as he currently has 1,483 career points, 143 points back of Tim Walsh ’86; he is also 8th on the Eph all time list with 533 career rebounds, only three back of Jim Frew ’99 for seventh.
Schultz is the second Eph to receive the award, which Mike Nogelo ’98 was given after the 1997-98 season. Williams is the only college to have two athletes receive the award.