July 18, 2013
KANSAS CITY – Rice University men’s basketball is a recipient of the inaugural NABC Team Academic Excellence Award, the National Association of Basketball Coaches announced on Thursday. The Owls earned the honor by posting a cumulative team grade point average of 3.0 or better in 2012-13.
Under the direction of head coach Ben Braun, Rice is one of just 21 NCAA Division I programs to earn the recognition, as the squad combined for a 3.09 GPA in the 2012-13 academic year. The Owls are the only Conference USA program to be honored, while Texas Tech and the University of Texas were the only other teams in the state to earn the award.
The team achievement comes on the heels of numerous individual academic accolades for the Owls. On Wednesday, the NABC named Bahrom Firozgary and Austin Ramljak to its Honors Court for upperclassmen with a cumulative GPA of 3.2 or higher.
Earlier this month, Ramljak was named the Conference USA Scholar-Athlete of the Year for men’s basketball. The honor marked the sixth consecutive season that a Rice player has earned the award. Ramljak joined sophomore Seth Gearhart on the C-USA All-Academic Team in 2012-13 as well.
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.