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Best in the ACC

NC State basketball coach Sidney Lowe, with a nationally recognized recruiting class neatly tucked away for the upcoming school year, received more good news on May 6, 2009, when the NCAA released its Academic Progress Rate data.

The Wolfpack’s basketball squad scored a 995 out of a possible 1,000, which is the highest score among the 12 ACC schools and in the top 10 percent of all NCAA Division I schools. The APR measures the progress towards graduation of all players on a given team.

Teams that do not meet a minimum score of 925 face NCAA scholarship sanctions.

That’s not a worry for Lowe, whose team was just five points short of perfection.

“This means a great deal, because it is important to us and our school that our kids are student-athletes,” Lowe said. “With all that is asked of them as athletes, they are still getting the job done as students in the classroom. We are very proud of that.”

The men’s basketball team and the NC State mixed rifle team were among the 767 teams given Public Recognition Awards on April 22 for top academic performance in 2009. They were each in the top 10 percent of their sports nationally.

“Sidney has done an excellent job of maintaining excellent academic standards for his team,” athletics director Lee Fowler said. “And our rifle team, which won its conference championship, continues to perform at a high level in competition and in the classroom.”

Men’s basketball had six players recognized as scholar-athletes at its annual banquet on April 28 for achieving a 3.0 grade point average or better: Ben McCauley (sport management), Enrico Kufuor (communication), Kaycee Obi-Gwacham (biological sciences), Johnny Thomas (sport management), C.J. Williams (management) and Julius Mays (management).

“That is something that we should certainly talk about,” Lowe said. “That’s an excellent performance by those young men. We were in the top 10 in the nation and No. 1 in the ACC. That is outstanding. The guys deserve a lot of credit for that.”

McCauley and academic seniors Courtney Fells and Brandon Costner all received their degrees on May 9 during NC State’s commencement exercises.