By Gage Nutter
Assistant Sports Editor
On Mar. 18th Jake Ross added another accolade to his already long list of basketball achievements.
Ross was named Division III Rookie of the Year by D3hoops.com. He is the first Springfield College men’s basketball player to earn the national honor from D3hoops.com. There are 416 men’s basketball programs who compete at the NCAA Division III level, making his recognition a milestone achievement for the program.
Leading up to the national accolade, Ross was named the D3hoops.com Northeast Rookie of the Year, the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division III New England Rookie of the Year, and the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Rookie of the Year. Additionally, he earned all-region honors from both the ECAC and D3hoops.com.
Ross is honored with the accolade and gives credit to his teammates for helping him get to this point.
“It’s a great accomplishment and something I can carry with me throughout my life,” said Ross. “I have great teammates and I’m thankful for that. Nothing like this happens without the team fully on board. We have a bunch of guys that buy in and are on the same page. With even more room to grow, it’s a special thing to be apart of.”
When some players are at the level that Ross is achieved, they let it go to their head and make it hard for coaches to communicate. That is not the case with Ross. Head coach Charlie Brock believes Ross always strives to, “do the right thing.”
“He is so coachable,” said Brock. “He is a great passer, he loves to push the ball up the floor, and he is a phenomenal rebounder. I didn’t see it coming, I knew he was going to be a very good player, we do not really set individual goals as far as accolades like that, we focus mainly on team goals, but it is a great tribute to him.”
Ross ranked second in the NEWMAC conference in scoring with 22.7 points per game, and his 9.0 rebounds per contest was also second best. He registered a conference-best 46 steals, while his 81 assists ranked seventh as he averaged just over 33 minutes per game. This season, Ross scored at least 20 points in 19 games, including four 30-point outings.
Ross is pleased with the recognition, but he has his sights set on more team oriented achievements rather than individual.
“I’m happy, but we have bigger aspirations,” said Ross. “Our team wants to win a national championship and we want to be playing late in March. To get those results it starts now.”