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Steve Zieja '03
Zieja is one of 10 finalists for national player of the year.

Zieja Named National Jostens Trophy Finalist for Men's Basketball Player of the Year

February 24, 2003

AMHERST, MA - Amherst College senior tri-captain forward Steve Zieja (Hadley, MA) was named one of ten national finalists for the Jostens Trophy, awarded annually to the outstanding menís and womenís basketball players in NCAA Division III. Recipients will be announced in March in conjunction with the Division III Menís Basketball National Championship Tournament in Salem, Virginia.

Joining Zieja on the list of national nominees are Kevin Bartow of Maryville, Willie Chandler of Misericordia, Joe Corbett of Hobart, Patrick Glover of Johnson State, Jesse Harris of Simpson, Robert Hennigan of Emerson, Ryan Hepp of Willamette, Joel Kolmodin of Wheaton (Ill.) and Derek Reich of Chicago. Last year's recipient was Adam Jones from Buena Vista University.

The Jostens Trophy seeks to honor the true Division III student-athlete, emphasizing excellence in the classroom, on the playing court and in the community. Finalists are voted on by a national selection committee consisting of college coaches, former athletes, college administrators and select members of the media.

With 1,621 career points (and counting), Zieja, a two-year captain and a preseason All-American, is the leading scorer in Amherst history. Along with fellow senior tri-captains Ryan Faulkner (Lebanon, NH) and Pat Fitzsimons (Durham, NC), heís helped lead the Jeffs to a school record 84 wins, back-to-back NESCAC Championships and three straight NCAA Tournament berths.

Ziejaís trophy case is literally bursting with a wide array of athletic and academic awards garnered over the past two seasons. He was recently named Verizon Academic All-District 1 and is a finalist for Academic All-America consideration. Zieja is also a two-time All-NESCAC selection and was a First-Team All-Region, All-ECAC and All-District pick as a junior.

Amherst stands at 21-3 after Saturdayís NESCAC Tournament quarterfinal win over Bowdoin College, in which Zieja poured in a team-high 20 points. As the top seed, the 10th-ranked Jeffs will host the NESCAC semifinals and championship game this Saturday and Sunday.

Saturdayís semifinals will pit Amherst against Little Three rival Wesleyan University at 2 p.m., followed by a 4 p.m. matchup between Williams College and Tufts University. The winner of Sundayís noon championship game will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.