Kentucky men's basketball wins second straight NABC Academic Excellence Award

July 23, 2014 

Kentucky Coach John Calipari said the basketball games in the Bahamas will be "hard games for us to win," but that's exactly what the Wildcats want.

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The University of Kentucky was among 129 men's basketball teams across all divisions honored Wednesday as winners of the Team Academic Excellence Award, presented by the National Association of Basketball Coaches.

The award, which was created last year, was the second straight for Kentucky.

The Team Academic Excellence Awards were created by the NABC Committee on Academics to recognize outstanding academic achievement.

The 129 winners posted a cumulative team grade-point average of 3.0 or better for the 2013-14 season.

Kentucky had a 3.11 cumulative GPA. Coach John Calipari's squad has tallied a 3.0 GPA or better in six of the last seven semesters.

Three Wildcats, Tod Lanter, Sam Malone and Jarrod Polson, were named to the NABC Honors Court on Monday. Malone received the Elite 89 award at the 2014 Final Four, which honors the student athlete with the highest cumulative GPA participating in the Final Four.

Nine Wildcats were named to various Southeastern Conference honor rolls this season: Dominique Hawkins, Dakari Johnson, Lanter, Marcus Lee, Brian Long, Malone, Polson, Alex Poythress and Derek Willis.

Since Calipari's arrival, all nine players who have exhausted their athletic eligibility have graduated from UK including: Twany Beckham, Josh Harrellson, Ramon Harris, Jon Hood, Mark Krebs, Darius Miller, Polson, Perry Stevenson and Eloy Vargas. Also, Patrick Patterson and Polson completed their degrees in just three years.

Florida and South Carolina were the only other Southeastern Conference teams to win the Team Academic Excellence Award.

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