Levi earns national recognition with awards

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Photo by Hannah Green

Last week d3hoops.com bestowed three awards upon University of Dallas men’s basketball star, Spencer Levi. Levi won 2nd Team All-South Region Honors, South Region Rookie of the Year, and National Rookie of the Year.

“It’s such a great honor to have received these honors,” said Levi. “It’s a blessing to be recognized as a national player.”

“It is a tremendous honor for Spencer to be named National Rookie of the Year and well deserved,” said UD men’s basketball head coach Jarred Samples. “It’s exciting to see Spencer recognized for all his hard work.”

Levi made an immediate impact in his first year with the Crusaders.  The UD freshman lead the team in points scored (495), rebounds (295), blocked shots (71), shooting percentage (70.2 percent), and double-doubles (17), as well as finishing second on the team in steals (28) and third in assists (64).

“It means a lot for the team to have Spencer win the awards,” said freshman guard Joshua Nunn.  “It is very prestigious and holds our team at a high standard.  Our team thrives with Spencer on the court.  He holds us together and picks us up on offense and defense.”

“As a team we are very proud and happy for him,” said junior guard Darrius Colvin.  “He’s worked very hard day in and day out and we’re glad his work ethic and play were rewarded.”

Levi was one of four players from the SCAC to make the South All-Region teams, along with Schreiner’s Keenan Gumbs (1st Team), Centenary’s Travion Kirkendoll (2nd Team), and Colorado’s Eric Houska (3rd Team).  Among his fellow SCAC members, Levi was first in rebounding, blocked shots, shooting percentage double-doubles, second in minutes per game, and third in points scored, steals and assists.

“Everybody being put on the regional team shows that our conference is at a higher level than what outsiders believe,” said Levi.

“I think it says a lot about how good the SCAC was to place four players on the All Region Teams,” said Samples.  “Every night out was a battle and you had to be ready to compete.”

Among 15 honorees in the South Region, Levi had the most blocked shots and highest shooting percentage as well as the  second most rebounds.  In addition, Levi was the only freshman to be named to any of the three South All-Region teams.

“I think Spencer would also be the first to say that he could not have had the success he did without the help of his teammates, which speaks to our entire team,” said Samples.

Levi appreciated everyone who helped him in his success so early in his college career.

“I would like to thank God, my family, my coaches, and my teammates becauses everything I’ve achieved and accomplished wouldn’t have been possible without all of them by my side,” Levi said.

For the 2017-2018 season, Levi was fourth among all Division III players in shooting percentage, tied for seventh in blocked shots and double-doubles, and 11th in rebounding. Among all freshmen, Levi was first in shooting percentage and points scored, second in rebounding and double-doubles, and fourth in blocked shots.

“The one that makes me most happy is the National Rookie of the Year Award,” said Levi.  “Just simply for the fact that I was the best freshman in the nation.”

“His numbers are only part of what [he] brings to the table as a player,” said Colvin. “He’s a good teammate and person to be around.  He brings good energy and positive vibes everyday.  He deserves everything he’s won and more.”

Levi’s stack of postseason awards has now increased to seven as the freshman also won SCAC Newcomer of the Year, SCAC Co-Defensive player of the year, and was named 1st Team All-SCAC and United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) 1st Team All-American.  However, Levi has his sights set on higher things in the future.

“Personally, I think this team had the potential to make a run deep into the NCAA tournament if we put the pieces together,” said Levi.  “I would much rather have that with the memories that come along than have personal awards.”

Whatever the future may be has yet to be written, but the past is carved in stone.  No matter what happens next year, Levi’s fantastic season is one that will be remembered for years to come.

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