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Loyola men's basketball receives Five Star Champions of Character Award

March 30, 2012

The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics has recognized the Loyola University New Orleans men’s basketball team as the 2011-12 Buffalo Funds Five Star Champions of Character Team. The NAIA presents the award to one team at the end of the season for each of the 23 championship sports.

Teams that receive this prestigious award demonstrate respect, responsibility, integrity, servant leadership and sportsmanship. These athletic programs strive for excellence in and out of competition and are part of communities throughout the country dedicated to character-driven intercollegiate athletics.

Before the basketball season started in October, the Wolfpack visited Woodland West Elementary School and the Pre-Prep Basketball Clinic to educate kids on the importance of displaying integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship and servant leadership. The Wolfpack also performed a ball handling and shooting demonstration and presented the school with six new outdoor basketballs.

In November, the ‘Pack also traveled to the Bridge & Grace House to serve Thanksgiving dinner and spend time with the men and women of the community.

Team members also partnered with the nonprofit group Elevate in the “Day in the Life of a College Athlete” program. Loyola players served as mentors to visiting high school students by taking them around campus and showing them what it is like to be a college student athlete for a day.

“The Loyola University men's basketball program is extremely grateful to be recognized and honored by the NAIA. Character building is an important aspect of a Jesuit education and we, like many similar student organizations on our campus, are constantly striving to make a difference in the Loyola and greater New Orleans community,” said Loyola men’s basketball coach Dr. Michael Giorlando. “Again, I want to thank the NAIA for recognizing our team for their efforts in the community with this prestigious award.”

The team not only achieved a stellar season on the court, but also in the classroom. In the fall, the team had a combined 3.25 GPA.

In addition, Chris Joseph, Dylan Kremer, Manuel Gandara and Steve Davis were announced to the 2011-12 All-Academic Team. Joseph was also named to the Musco Lighting Champions of Character Team, while Kremer was awarded as a NAIA Daktronics Scholar Athlete.

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