Achara, Saunders and James Earn A-10 Honors

PITTSBURGH -- A trio of Dukes earned postseason honors as the Atlantic 10 Conference released results of voting for annual postseason awards by the league's 14 men's basketball head coaches today.

Atlantic 10 Conference press release


Freshman Damian Saunders (Waterbury, Conn./Notre Dame Prep) was named to the Rookie Team, junior Shawn James (Brooklyn, N.Y./Notre Dame Prep) earned a spot on the Defensive Team and - in a vote of the league's sports information directors - graduate student Kieron Achara (Stirling, Scotland/Maine Central Institute) was named Student-Athlete of the Year for the second consecutive season. Achara was also named to the Academic Team for the third time.

Saunders, who was named A-10 Rookie of the Week three times this season, leads the team with 45 steals and is second on the team with a 5.2 rebounds per game average. He is third in blocks (37) and fourth in 3-pointers made (24-of-68, .353). Saunders' blocked shot total is the second-highest ever by a DU freshman (the record of 54 was set by Derrick Alston in 1990-91).

James, who enters this week's Atlantic 10 Championship ranked ninth on the NCAA all-time Division I list with 439 career blocked shots, ranks tied for fourth nationally in blocks per game at 4.0. The 6-10 junior leads the conference with 107 rejections in 27 games, and his blocked shot total is more than seven A-10 teams. James ranks seventh in the league in rebounding at a team-high 6.9 rpg.

Achara, who posted a 3.63 grade point average in completing his undergraduate degree in management last spring, has a 4.0 in Duquesne's graduate school of sports leadership. Achara is just the third player in Atlantic 10 history to be named Student-Athlete of the Year two times. The Stirling, Scotland native, who was one of 30 nominees for the Lowe's Senior Class Award, is the first player in Duquesne history to be named to the academic team three times.

Achara enters the A-10 Championship 19th on Duquesne's all-time scoring list with 1,233 points. His 185 blocks rank second and his .525 field goal percentage rank second and tied for fifth on DU's career lists. Achara will be taking the court for the 115th time in the Dukes' opening round game. The 115 games played will tie him for second on Duquesne's all-time list.

Duquesne, which finished tied for ninth in the conference with a 7-9 record, and last place St. Bonaventure (2-14) were the only two schools that did not have a player named first, second or third team All-Conference. There were only four underclassmen on the 15-man team.

The Dukes (17-12, 6-9) - a No. 10 seed - open play in the Atlantic 10 Championship at Atlantic City, N.J. on Wednesday, Mar. 12 against No. 7 La Salle (14-16, 8-8) at 6:30 p.m.


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