Courtesy of Rob Bentley, Assistant Athletic Director for Communications
BIG RAPIDS, Mich. -- For the second time in as many days, sophomore center Zach Hankins (Charlevoix) of the Ferris State University men's basketball squad has earned All-America recognition as he was chosen today to the 2017 National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Division II All-America First Team.
The NABC All-America team is selected and voted on by member coaches of the NABC in Division II. The student-athletes chosen represent the finest basketball players across America.
Hankins, who Monday was named to the Division II Conference Commissioner's Association (D2CCA) All-America Second Team, previously claimed All-Midwest District recognition from the NABC before being named to the All-America squad. He was one of 15 players from across the country and the only sophomore chosen on the coaches' sqaud. It marks the first time a FSU player has earned NABC All-America laurels since 2011.
Hankins led the Bulldogs to one of the most historic seasons in school history, including an appearance in the NCAA Division II Midwest Regional Semifinals for the second consecutive year. He previously was also chosen to the D2CCA All-Midwest Region squad and tabbed as the regional player of the year. Hankins was the only player from a GLIAC member school selected on any of the All-America squads.
Along with being the first-ever FSU men's basketball sophomore to garner All-America acclaim, Hankins also becomes only the seventh All-American in Ferris State men's basketball history and third in the last 43 years. He joins past standouts Justin Keenan and Drew Lehman as the only school All-Americans at the NCAA Division II level.
Most recently, Lehman was named to the Division II Bulletin Honorable Mention All-America squad two years ago in 2014-15 while earning the All-America distinction for the first time in his collegiate career. He was the program's first All-America pick since Keenan achieved laurels from various sources back-to-back years in 2010 and 2011, including National Player of the Year kudos as a senior.
Besides Lehman and Keenan, the Bulldogs' previous All-America performers all played at the NAIA level and included Bernie Kilpatrick (1963-64), Jesse Mangham (1968-69), Dennis Johnson (1973) and Lewis Garner (1974).
This season, Hankins led FSU to the regional semifinals as the Bulldogs beat seventh-seeded Truman State (Mo.) 86-78 in the opening round of teh national touranemnt before falling to GLIAC foe Findlay 68-63 in the second round on March 12 at Knights Hall in Louisville, Ky.
Behind the play of the sophomore standout, Ferris State set a school record this year by winning 28 games, which represents the most wins in nearly 90 seasons of Bulldog Basketball. FSU also won the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Regular-Season and Tournament Championships in the same year for the first time in school history. The league tourney title was FSU's third in a row as the Bulldogs advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the third consecutive year.
This season, Hankins garnered GLIAC Player of the Year recognition, becoming the first-ever sophomore to win the league's top player award in men's basketball. He set a new GLIAC and school record with 130 blocked shots on the year, leading the nation in blocks and ranking sixth in field goal percentage (64.7).
As a sophomore, the Charlevoix native received All-GLIAC First Team laurels and was also named to the GLIAC All-Defensive Team while receiving league tourney team accolades in helping Ferris State capture the tournament title on its home floor in Big Rapids. He finished the year with 17 double-double performances and scored 10 points or more in 27 games with 20 double-figure rebounding outings.
Finally, Hankins paced FSU in both scoring (15.0) and rebounding (10.5) during the 2016-17 campaign and led the conference in rebounding while ranking among the scoring leaders.
Hankins was also recently named a national semifinalist as one of the country's top 50 players for the Bevo Francis National Small College Basketball Player of the Year honor.
The Bulldogs, who finished 28-5 overall this season, will return all but a single senior in guard Quentin Ruff next season.