Feb. 12, 2008
Former Eastern Washington University All-America basketball player and current Detroit Pistons backup point guard Rodney Stuckey has been selected as the Inland Northwest Amateur Male Athlete of the Year for the 2007 athletic sports season.
He is just the second Eastern student-athlete to win the honor since it was first awarded in 1948. The award is presented by the Inland Northwest Sportswriters and Broadcasters organization (SWABS). Stuckey joins a prestigious list of winners that include Mark Rypien, John Stockton, John Friesz, Steve Emtman, Dan O'Brien, Drew Bledsoe and Dan Dickau.
Eastern assistant coach Grant Leep will accept the honor on Stuckey's behalf at Wednesday's (Feb. 13) Inland Northwest Sports Awards Luncheon in Spokane, Wash. The 15th pick overall in last June's NBA Draft, Stuckey is currently in Atlanta, Ga., for Tuesday's (Feb. 12) game against the Hawks.
"I want to thank the Inland Northwest Sportswriters and Broadcasters for honoring me with this award," said Stuckey in a statement that will be read at the luncheon. "Playing in the NBA was a dream for my family and me and I'm just blessed to have been given the opportunities I have been given in the sport of basketball."
Stuckey was an All-American at Eastern -- both athletically and academically -- after averaging 24 points per game in each of his two seasons. He helped EWU win 30 games in two seasons and has a 3.34 grade point average. A 2004 graduate of Kentwood High School in Kent, Wash., Rodney was a non-qualifier out of high school and had to sit out the 2004-05 season while he concentrated on academics.
"I want to thank Eastern Washington University for helping me pursue my dreams and allow me to do what I do out on the court," he continued. "It was a good experience for me and helped me in many ways. I just want to say thank you to everyone for all the support and guidance you provided me in my three years at Eastern Washington, and for helping me find a home as a player for the Detroit Pistons."
Entering Detroit's game on Tuesday, Stuckey has had his career-best scoring games with 13 points in back-to-back Detroit victories versus Charlotte (113-87 on Feb. 10) and Portland (91-82 on Feb. 8). He also had 10 assists in those two games, including six versus Charlotte.
The Pistons have now won eight-straight games and have the second-best record in the league at 37-13. Stuckey has averaged 10.0 points and 3.6 assists in the last five games while making 54 percent of his shots from the field.
In the 25 career games he has played since missing 25 games with a hand injury, Stuckey is averaging 5.4 points, 2.4 assists, 1.9 rebounds and 0.9 steals per game. He is playing as a backup to Pistons point guard Chauncey Billups.
Football tight end Scott Garske is the only other Eastern male to be honored by SWABS since 1948 (prior to 1963 there was just one award given to amateur and professional athletes). Garske won the 1973 award after earning first team NAIA All-America honors and he was eventually drafted in the seventh round of the NFL Draft by Pittsburgh. His son Griffin Garske was a quarterback for the Eagles from 1996-98.
Previous SWABS female winners from Eastern include Wanda Oliver (shooting/1974 and 1975), Launi Meili (shooting/1992), Kim Exner (volleyball/1998) and Janelle Ruen (volleyball & basketball/2001 and 2002). Coach of the Year honors have been won by Bob Brumblay (basketball/1948), Dave Holmes (football/1967), Curt Byrnes (wrestling/1977), Dick Zornes (football/1985 and 1992) and Ray Giacoletti (men's basketball/2004). The school's only team of the year honor was won by football in 1967.
Eastern Hall of Fame running back Mel Stanton won the athlete of the year award in 1958 while he was at Lewis & Clark High School in Spokane. Interestingly, a ban against awards to high school athletes by the Washington State High School Activities Association prevented him from accepting the honor in person. Stanton played one year at Washington State University before eventually transferring to Eastern where he rushed for 1,238 yards and 21 touchdowns in 1965.
Other previous winners with ties to Eastern include former junior varsity basketball player and eventual auto racing standout Tom Sneva (professional athlete of the year in 1973, 1977, 1978, 1980 and 1983) and track standout Tracy Walters (coach of the year in 1964).
More on Stuckey . . .
In 2006-07 for the second-straight season, Eastern Washington University sophomore Rodney Stuckey received honorable mention All-America honors by the Associated Press as one of the top 63 players in NCAA Division I. The AP announced its 2007 All-America Team on March 26, 2007. The team consisted of five first-team players, five second-team players, five third-team players, and 48 honorable mention picks.
Stuckey led the Big Sky in scoring at 24.6 points per game. He was second in assists with 5.52 per game and second in steals with 2.45 per game. On March 19, 2007, Stuckey was selected on the 16-person All-America squad selected by Collegeinsider.com.
Stuckey's All-America accolades are the highest by an Eastern player at the NCAA Division I level, with honorable mention All-America honors being won by Stuckey in 2006 and Alvin Snow in 2004.
Stuckey, a 2004 graduate of Kentwood High School in Kent, Wash., led Eastern to 30 victories in his two seasons. He ranked seventh in NCAA Division I in scoring in 2007 with an average of 24.6 points per game after averaging 24.2 as a freshman. He broke 10 school records and has a current career total of 1,438 points.
In addition, Stuckey was a unanimous selection on the All-Big Sky Conference team. And, with a 3.34 accumulative grade point average, he was selected as a third team selection on the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America team after earning All-District VIII honors earlier in the season for the second-straight season.
In his freshman season, Collegeinsider.com voted Stuckey as its National Freshman of the Year and as a sophomore it named him its pick as Big Sky Conference Player of the Year. In addition, as a sophomore Stuckey was selected to the All-District 9 squad by the United States Basketball Writers Association and earned All-District 13 honors from the National Association of Basketball Coaches. Collegehoops.net named him as a first team Mid-Major All-America selection.
More on Rodney Stuckey and his career accomplishments can be found at:
or on the basketball pages at http://WWW.GOEAGS.COM