July 11, 2012
KANSAS CITY - Connor Frizzelle, Lucas Kuipers, Omar Oraby and Nate Schwarze were all named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches Honors Court for their excellence in the classroom, the NABC announced Wednesday from its headquarters in Kansas City, Mo.
In order to be named to the NABC Honors Court, student-athletes had to meet a set of standards that includes being either a junior or senior, a cumulative 3.20 or higher grade point average at the conclusion of the 2011-12 academic year, and have matriculated at least one year at their current institution (which must be a Division I, II, III or NAIA member).
Under the direction of head coach Ben Braun, Rice was just one of 11 Division I schools in the country with four players on the 2012 Honors Court. The Owls' four selections was the most among the three Conference USA schools that had players earn the NABC's annual academic honor. On the court Frizzelle, Kuipers, Oraby and Schwarze teamed to help the Blue & Gray finish with 19 wins, including two in national postseason play.
Frizzelle started 31 of Rice's 35 games in his senior season. The Red Oak, Tex., native averaged 9.5 points per game with a total of 63 assists and 26 steals in more than 935 minutes of playing time. As a Kinesiology major Frizzelle was a three-time C-USA All-Academic honoree.
Kuipers was also a three-time C-USA Academic honoree as a Kinesiology major with a Business minor. The senior forward from Rochester, Minn., made 24 starts and finished the year with 6.3 points and 3.3 rebounds per game. Kuipers led the Owls in free-throw percentage (.833) and his clutch free throws in the final minute helped secure the CIT victory over Drake.
Oraby played in 34 games and worked his way into four starts, including the opening game of the C-USA Tournament in Memphis. The 7-foot-2 center from Cairo, Egypt, broke the Rice single-season record with 54 blocked shots to go along with 203 points and 123 rebounds. Oraby juggled Division I basketball and Rice course work majoring in Civil Engineering.
Schwarze earned NABC Honors Court accolades for the second-straight season as an Economics and Sport Management double major. The guard from Chelsea, Mich., played in 21 games with a start against crosstown rival Houston in his senior season. Schwarze finished his Rice career with 35 points, 46 assists and 29 steals.
Located in Kansas City, the NABC was founded in 1927 by Phog Allen, the legendary basketball coach at the University of Kansas. Allen, a student of James Naismith, the inventor of basketball, organized coaches into this collective group to serve and enhance the sport. The NABC currently has nearly 5,000 members consisting primarily of university and college men's basketball coaches. A full listing of the NABC's 2012 Honors Court is available on-line at the above link.