LINDSBORG, Kan. – Four Swedes representing the men's basketball program earned Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athlete honors; Zach Batman, sophomore guard; Tyler Larkin, sophomore guard; Ian Merzwinski, senior forward; and Jalen Thompson, senior guard. Having four student-athletes makes the list ties Bethany for the third most out of all NAIA Division II Men's Basketball programs and most out of any KCAC school.
"We are proud that Ian, Jalen, Tyler, and Zach have been named NAIA Scholar-Athletes," Swedes head coach Clair Oleen said. "These young men are not only dedicated to working hard to be the best players and teammates that they can be but they are also dedicated to working hard in their academics to prepare themselves for successful careers and lives of service after graduating from Bethany," he continued.
In order to be nominated by an institution's head coach or sports information director, a student-athlete must maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale and must have achieved a junior academic status. In addition, the student-athlete must have attended Bethany for two full years as a non-transfer and one full year as a transfer student.
Batman played in 10 games as a sophomore on the floor for the Swedes. During this time, he shot 63.5% from the field with a game high of six points in the Swedes win over Baptist Bible.
Thompson started in 20 games for the Swedes this year, playing in 30. He averaged 5.53 points per game, scoring the third most three-pointers on the team throughout the season. Thompson scored a game high of 17 points in the Swedes game against Saint Mary; he made five shots from behind the arc in this contest. Against Baptist Bible, he put up a season high of five assists.
Merzwinski led the team in two categories this season, rebounds and blocks. He averaged 6.39 boards a game, grabbing a season high of 17 rebounds against Friends. He averaged just under one block per game and put up three against Bethel. In addition to these, Merzwinski also averaged 8.03 points per game with a season high of 19 points against Barclay.
Larkin led the team this year in steals and assists. He averaged 1.87 steals and 4.53 assists per game. Larkin ended the year 19th in the NAIA Division II in steals per game, 25th in total steals, 27th in assists per game, and 33rd in total assists. His efforts this year earned him the KCAC Defensive Player of the Week award twice. Larkin also averaged 11.20 points per game. He scored a season high of 24 points against York. Also against York, he put up a season high of 10 assists.
"It is a great achievement to be tied for third in all of the NAIA Division II for most scholar athletes. This award gives us a chance to show all the aspects of our program, not just the athletic achievements of our Swedes student-athletes," Dean of Athletics and Student Development Dane Pavlovich said.
To learn more about the Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athlete award, click here.
To view the entire list, click here.
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