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Seniors Josh Regal and Eric Vandivier, junior Jake Schwarz and sophomore Justin Ward of the Lakeland College men's basketball team have been recognized by the Northern Athletics Conference for their play during the 2011-12 season, as the league announced its all-conference teams Tuesday.
Schwarz, a 6-foot-5 forward and Ward a 6-foot-10 forward, represented Lakeland on the NAC's first team.
Schwarz received first team recognition for the second time in his career after helping lead the Muskies to a 21-7 record. The Sheboygan, Wis., native had a tremendous junior year, which included leading the NAC in scoring with 23.4 points per game, good for eighth in the nation. He also grabbed 8.9 rebounds per game.
Schwarz scored a remarkable 655 points, which ranks ninth in program history, to increase his career tally to 1,578 points, which ranks sixth all time in the program's history. His 86.7 percent free throw percentage led the league and ranked 25th in the nation, while it marked the seventh-best percentage in program history. Schwarz joined the 1,000 point club on Nov. 29, 2011, after a 36-point performance against Maranatha Baptist Bible College and he set a career high with 42 points on Jan. 4 against Finlandia University.
He tallied 10 double-double performances this season and was named NAC Player of the Week five times. His 45.2 percent 3-point field goal percentage was third in the conference and eighth in the nation.
"Jake had a great junior year," said head coach Aaron Aanonsen. "Coming off a knee injury you never know how a player is going to respond, but he worked extremely hard, stayed focused and did a tremendous job helping our team win."
Ward, a Wisconsin Dells, Wis., native, was the only sophomore recognized on the first team and had an outstanding year for the Muskies. He started in all 28 games while averaging 16.8 points per game, which ranked third in the NAC, along with 7.3 rebounds per game. He led the NAC in blocks (70) and ranked 11th in the nation in blocks per game (2.5). Ward's first team honor marks his second-straight NAC recognition as he was named to the All-Freshman team last season.
"Justin was our X-factor this year," said Aanonsen. "He really improved his game and became more a more confident player. He was a great threat from both the inside and outside. On the defensive side, he's turned into a better rebounder and is great shot blocker and post presence for us."
Regal, a 5-foot-10 guard, was one of six players named to the NAC's second team. The Suring, Wis., native led the league in assists (172), assists per game (6.1) and steals (66). He was third best in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.42) and free throw percentage (82.5). Nationally, Regal ranked 11th in assists per game and 20th in assist-to-turnover ratio.
Regal finished his standout four-year career with 1,439 career points, which ranks 11th all time, and 521 career assists, which ranks second all time. His second team All-NAC recognition marks his third all-conference award as he earned second team All-NAC last year and All-Freshman team accolades in the 2008-09 season.
"Josh has been the cornerstone of our program the past four years," said Aanonsen. "He is one of the best players to ever put on a Lakeland College uniform, and his contributions on and off the court are immeasurable. "
Lakeland was represented on the All-Sportsmanship team by senior guard Eric Vandivier. The Mt. Prospect, Ill., native appeared in 27 games and started in five. Vandivier was a spark off the Muskies bench and gave valuable minutes while being a play maker on the court. He averaged 3.9 points per game and 2.1 rebounds per game, while dishing out 53 assists and shooting 43.6 percent from the field.
"Eric is one of the most unselfish student-athletes I have ever coached," said Aanonsen. "He does all of the little things to make our team better on and off the court, and his passion and dedication to our program and Lakeland are second to none. "
Senior Luke Doedens of Concordia University Wisconsin was named the league's Player of the Year while Edgewood College head coach Todd Adrian, a former Lakeland assistant coach, garnered Coach of the Year accolades.
To see the complete list of 2011-12 All-NAC award winners click here: http://northernac.org/sports/mbkb/2011-12/releases/20120228nc86qp