Hey, you know how this year has -- what's the word I'm looking for -- sucked for Penn State basketball fans? Well, let's all come together and do something really cool for the team's best player as a way to show how much we appreciate his effort during his time in Happy Valley.
D.J. Newbill is, at the absolute worst, the third-best basketball player in the Big Ten. He is also an awesome human being and one of those athletes who don't just deserve national recognition for being good at basketball, but for being a great guy, too. Seriously. I know a bunch of people who have met D.J., and he is by all accounts as fantastic off the court as he is on it. While I have never met him outside of a few interviews, he has always been nothing but kind in those instances. For those reasons, let's stuff the ballot boxes for the Senior CLASS Award, of which he is a finalist.
If you aren't 100 percent sure what the award is, here is a synopsis, via an email from Penn State's athletic department:
D.J. Newbill has been selected as one of 10 men’s finalists for the Senior CLASS Award, the organization announced Thursday. The award is given annually to one men’s and one’s women’s basketball student-athlete who excels both on and off the court.
To be eligible, student-athletes must be classified as NCAA Division I seniors and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition.
Newbill is the No. 4 scorer in Penn State history, after just three years in the program, and is one of the top scorers in all of NCAA basketball. Off the court, he is a dedicated student and active member in the community. A full description of his accomplishments in all four areas is available here.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their athletic platforms to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.
The finalists were chosen by national media from the list of 30 men’s candidates and 30 women’s candidates announced in October. Nationwide fan voting begins immediately to help select the winner, and fans are encouraged to submit votes online at the Senior CLASS Award website through March 23. Fan votes will be combined with those of the media and Division I head coaches to determine the winners. The Senior CLASS Award recipients will be announced during the 2015 NCAA Men’s Final Four® and NCAA Women’s Final Four®.
Here's how the voting currently shakes out. D.J., uh, is getting smoked:
I mean he's doing kind of well since he's in third, but Alex Barlow must, like, be Jesus or something.
Still! Here's a link to where you can go and vote. I recommend doing it. If you don't want to do it, do it anyway, because that would be really cool of you. D.J. Newbill deserves something to show how awesome he is, and since a chance to show off how good he is in the NCAA Tournament is prooooooobably off the table right now, let's give him this.