Posted Online: March 13, 2013, 8:30 pm

Augie's Ryan earns regional Rookie of the Year award

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By Tom Johnston, tjohnston@qconline.com

Augustana College freshman Ben Ryan added an impressive entry into his burgeoning basketball resume on Wednesday when he was named Rookie of the Year in the Midwest Region by D3hoops.com.

Ryan, a Washington, Ill., prep, was the leading scorer (11.7 ppg) and second-leading rebounder (6.8 caroms per game) for the 19-8 Vikings this past season when his play also earned him CCIW Freshman of the Year honors.

"I think there are about 50 teams in the Midwest Region, and for him to be selected as the best rookie of the year among those 50 teams, in one of the best regions in the country, really is a heck of an endorsement to the kind of great season that he had," said Augie coach Grey Giovanine.

According to his coach, Ryan, who could not be reached Wednesday, is now in the running for D3hoops.com's national Rookie of the Year honor.

With 316 points, Ryan became just the third freshman to lead Augustana in scoring, joining Drew Carstens in 2000-01 and Louis "Soup" Semeny in 1924-25. He just missed becoming the first player ever to lead Augustana in scoring and rebounding as a freshman. His 183 rebounds were seven shy of team leader Brandon Kunz's team-leading 190.

Making Ryan's season even more impressive was the fact that he was very consistent from start to finish, avoiding the proverbial wall that many freshmen hit in their transition season to college ball.

"The fact that he never missed a start and was productive in every game really is the most significant tribute to his season," said Giovanine. "Everybody typically has some ups and down or injuries. He played through a lot of aches and pains and found a way to be productive night in and night out, which is very unusual for a freshman. His level of consistency was a hallmark of his season."

Ryan shot .516 from the field and .638 from the free-throw line this season and had 35 assists, 26 steals and 10 blocked shots. He finished in the CCIW top 10 in field-goal percentage and rebounding. He posted six double-doubles and had high games of 21 points at Elmhurst, 13 rebounds against UW-Oshkosh, five assists vs. St. Ambrose and five steals against Carthage.