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John Donovan '04
LOOK MOM, NO LADDER! Donovan and co. celebrate Amherst's first-ever trip to the NCAA Final Four.

Hixon, Donovan, Harper Earn NEBCA Honors

April 15, 2004

AMHERST, MA - Amherst College men’s basketball coach Dave Hixon ’75 was named Division III Coach of the Year by the New England Basketball Coaches Association (NEBCA), while Amherst senior tri-captain guards John Donovan (Holmdel, NJ) and Adam Harper (Washington, DC) were selected to play in the NEBCA Division III All-Star Game, held next Tuesday, April 20, at 6 p.m. at Lavietes Pavilion on the campus of Harvard University. The NEBCA will honor Hixon and its other award winners at halftime, and a Division I vs. Division II All-Star Game will follow at 7:30 p.m. Amherst assistant Luke Flockerzi will coach one of the two teams in the Division III All-Star Game.

Already named the Northeast Region Coach of the Year by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC), Hixon had perhaps his finest season in 27 years as Amherst head coach, overcoming the graduation of three of the best players in school history, including all-time leading scorer Steve Zieja ’03, to lead the Jeffs to a school record 27 wins and their first-ever trip to the NCAA Division III Final Four in Salem, Va.

"This is a truly deserved award," said Amherst athletic director Peter Gooding, "for a coach who has given many years of great service to both the game of basketball and Amherst College students."

Hixon upped his career record to 466-213, making him the 14th winningest active Division III coach in the nation and the 25th winningest coach in NCAA Division III history (by total wins, as listed in the 2004 NCAA Record Book). He’s led the Jeffs to seven NCAA Tournaments since 1993-94 (the college’s first year of tournament eligibility), advancing to the NCAA Quarterfinals in both 1994 and 2003, before earning the college's first-ever trip to the NCAA Final Four in 2004. In 2001, Hixon was honored as the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Coach of the Year after leading the Jeffs to a 22-6 overall mark, tying the school record for single-season victories, which the team subsequently shattered with 24 victories in 2002-03 and 27 wins in 2003-04. He and his father, former Andover High School coaching legend Wil Hixon, were inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame in September, 2003.

Donovan averaged 12.3 points as a senior, leading the Jeffs and finishing second in the NESCAC with 71 three-pointers, and graduates as Amherst’s 13th all-time leading scorer with 1,084 career points, and third all-time three-point shooter with 186 career trifectas. He upped his season scoring average to 18.8 points in five NCAA Tournament games on the strength of career-high 25-point outbursts in Amherst’s 113-85 second-round win over Plymouth State, as well as its 82-70 victory over Franklin & Marshall in the national quarterfinals.

Harper, the two-time NESCAC Defensive Player of the Year, a First-Team ECAC All-Star and a First-Team NABC and All-Region selection, shattered a single-season school record with a conference-best 105 steals, becoming the college’s all-time leader with 321 career thefts. He graduates as Amherst’s 10th all-time leading scorer with 1,228 career points after leading the Jeffs to the NCAA Round of 32 as a rookie, the Round of 16 as a sophomore, the national quarterfinals as a junior and the college’s first-ever trip to the NCAA Division III Final four as a senior. Harper averaged 13.1 points on the season but poured in a team-best 19.8 points per contest in five NCAA Tournament games, highlighted by a 29-point showing in the Jeffs’ 113-85 NCAA Second-Round win over visiting Plymouth State University. He followed that with a game-high 26 points in Amherst’s 86-81 loss to archrival Williams College in the national semifinals.

Bob Cousy Award: Mike Crotty, Williams
Doggie Julian: Jack Leaman, UMass Amherst

Player of the Year:
Division I: Emeka Okafor, University of Connecticut
Division II: Elad Inbar, UMASS Lowell
Division III: Benjamin Coffin, Williams College

Rookie of the Year:
Division I: Jared Dudley, Boston College
Division II: Chris Burns, Bryant College
Division III: Zach Ray, Bates College

Unsung Hero:
Division I: Uka Agbai, Boston College
Division II: Mark Yeaton, Southern NH
Division III: Chuck Abba, Williams College

Most Improved Team:
Division I: University of Maine
Division II: Bryant College
Division III: WPI

Coach of the Year:
Division I: Dennis Wolff, Boston University
Division II: Jay Lawson, Bentley
Division III: Dave Hixon, Amherst

2004 New England Division III All Stars (Away):
Mike Crotty, Williams
Ben Coffin, Williams
Chuck Abba, Williams
Rob Hennigan, Emerson
Matt Brennan, Anna Maria
Keala Mills, Wesleyan
Kanem Johnson, Wesleyan
Luke Weber, Babson
Jeff Hines, Babson
Michael Kipphut, E. Conn.
Bobby Michalczyk, Salem
Ryan Anderson, Bridgewater
Sean Manovill, Castleton
Jeremy Currier, Endicott
Matt Johnson, Norwich
Deshawn Hawkins, Elms

2004 New England Division III All Stars (Home):
Scott Mahan, Wheaton
Marvin Evans, W. Conn.
Ramon Garcia, Bates
Chris Timson, Keene
Alphonse Michalski, Keene
Adam Harper, Amherst
John Donovan, Amherst
Evans Cazeau, Lasell
Napoleon Sandeford, Lasell
Mike Loughlin, Plymouth
Ian Bonzani, WPI
Eric Jenkins, Suffolk
Ryan Smith, Gordon
Andrew Tsai, MIT
Josh Didick, Mount Ida

NEBCA Division I All-Stars (home uniforms)
Ryan Butt, Boston University
Jason Grochwalski, Boston University
Kevin Fitzgerald, Boston University
Ron Robinson, Central Connecticut
Patrick Powers, Brown
Jaime Kilburn, Brown
Mike Martin, Brown
Matt Minoff, Yale
Paul Vitelli, Yale
Uka Agbai, Boston College
Javorie Wilson, Northeastern
Sylbrin Robinson , Northeastern
Marcus Douthit, Providence College
Sheiku Kabba, Providence College
Brian Woodward, URI

NEBCA Division II All Stars (Away uniforms)
Jimmie Hunt, Franklin Pierce College
Derek Rodgerson, Franklin Pierce College
Shaaron Sinvilcin, American International College
Shahar Golan, Assumption College
Jason Noel, Bryant College
Uri Grunwald, U. of Mass Lowell
Elad Inbar, U. of Mass Lowell
Craig Griffin, Merrimack College
Justin Leith, Merrimack College
Delbert Randall, St. Michael’s College
Mark Yeaton, U. of Southern New Hampshire
Ricardo Scott, Stonehill College
Ismael Caro, University of New Haven
Ron Christy, Teikyo-Post University
Gordon James, University of Bridgeport