The National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) and Allstate Insurance Company announced the 10 men’s college basketball student-athletes named to the 2014 Allstate NABC Good Works Teams® on Feb. 10.The Good Works Award, which is in its second year of existence, is a community service honor that recognizes college basketball players who have made a commitment to improving their communities and the lives of others.
The 2014 Good Works team is comprised of five Division I student-athletes and five student athletes from Division II, Division III and the NAIA. A total of 117 NABC nominees were submitted by sports information directors across the nation on behalf of their colleges and universities. The final team rosters were chosen by prestigious voting panels comprised of former coaches, student-athletes and media members.
Former Duke University student-athlete, two-time NCAA champion and seven-time NBA All-Star Grant Hill along with Pam Hollander, senior director of marketing for Allstate Insurance Company, headlined the Allstate NABC Good Works Team® voting panel. Other voting members included former college basketball players Tamika Catchings (Tennessee) Greg Anthony (UNLV), Mateen Cleaves (Michigan State) and Alana Beard (Duke); former head coaches Bobby Cremins (College of Charleston), Seth Greenberg (Virginia Tech), Marsha Sharp (Texas Tech) and Nell Fortner (Auburn); current college basketball coach Coquese Washington (Penn State); and media members Seth Davis (Sports Illustrated/CBS), Dana O’Neil (ESPN), Carolyn Peck (ESPN) and LaChina Robinson (ESPN/FOX).
“Allstate is proud to join the NABC and WBCA in recognizing college basketball players whose ‘good works’ align with our commitment to giving back to the communities where we live and work,” Hollander said. “These remarkable student-athletes serve as an inspiration to us all and another reason to celebrate those who contribute to the good in life.”
Members of the Allstate NABC Good Works Team will be invited by Allstate, an official corporate partner of the NCAA, to the 2014 NABC Convention and 2014 NCAA Men’s Final Four in North Texas, where they will participate in a community service project.
The 10 students selected to the NABC team are: Utah State junior forward Danny Berger (Medford, Ore.) , Ohio State senior guard Aaron Craft (Findlay, Ohio), Virginia senior guard Joe Harris (Chelan, Wash.) Pennsylvania senior guard Dau Jok (Des Moines, Iowa) Michigan graduate forward Jordan Morgan (Detroit, Mich.), Hamilton junior forward Peter Kazickas (Amagansett, N.Y.) , Hope College senior forward Grant Neil (Holland, Mich.). Mount Aloysius College senior guard Aaron Patrick (Johnsonburg, Pa.), Columbia (Mo.) College junior guard Tanner Sutton (Harrisonville, Mo.) and St. Mary’s College (Md.), junior guard Nick LaGuerre (Baltimore, Md.)
“The 10 young men selected to the 2014 NABC Good Works Team amplify the significant contributions of all of the men’s basketball student-athletes across America,” said NABC Executive Director Jim Haney. “We are proud to partner with Allstate to celebrate them as outstanding role models and for the positive impact they have made in their communities, the nation and the world.”
Danny Berger , 6-6 junior forward from Medford, Ore.
Berger is averaging 3.1 points and 2.1 rebounds per game in playing 12.6 minutes of action per game for Utah State Aggies (15-9, 5-7 in Mountain West). He is shooting 41.3 percent (31-of-75) from the field, including 23.3 percent (7-of-30) from three-point range and 78.9 percent (15-of-19) at the free throw line.
Last year, Berger missed 26 games due to a medical condition. He averaged 7.6 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game in 22.2 minutes of action per contest, shooting 40.0 percent from the floor (12-of-30), making 25.0 percent behind the arc (4-of-16) as well as 83.3 percent at the free throw line (10-of-12). At time of medical situation, he ranked sixth in the Western Athletic Conference in free throw percentage.
Off the court, Berger has participated in Ryan Gomes' Foundation Hoops For Heart Health Foundation. Gomes' Foundation provided the AED (automated external defibrillator) that was used on Berger during his medical situation. Danny and his father, Brain Berger, raised money and collected donations from the community last spring and summer to get an AED for the Kids Unlimited Activity Center in Danny's hometown of Medford, Ore.
Aaron Craft, 6-2 senior point guard from Findlay, Ohio
Craft is the leader on and off the court for the No. 22 Ohio State Buckeyes (19-6, 6-6 Big Ten). He is averaging 9.3 points on 47.8 percent shooting including 34.1 percent from beyond the arc. He also has dished out 118 assists, came up with 61 steals and collected 3.3 rebounds a game.
Last year, the 2013 Big Ten Tournament MOP averaged 10.0 points, 4.3 assists and 2.1 steals a game.
Craft volunteers his time to children’s charities in central Ohio, shares his Christian faith in appearances on behalf of Athletes in Action, and served on a weeklong mission trip to Haiti last summer. He and his roommates also helped organize a taco and t-shirt sale in Value City Arena before tonight’s game against Michigan that will benefit a campus non-profit that assists underpriviledged youth.
Craft was also recognized for his community service efforts last season as he was awarded the 2013 McMurry Award, which recognizes community service and commitment to citizenship.
Jordan Morgan, 6-8 senior forward from Detroit, Mich.
Morgan, a tri-captain , is averaging 4.9 points and 4.2 rebounds a game in 16.7 minutes of action for the No. 15 Michigan Wolverines (18-6, 10-2 Big Ten). He is shooting 68.1 percent from the field.
Morgan earned his bachelor's degree in industrial and operations engineering from U-M's College of Engineering in April 2012, and is currently pursuing a master's degree in manufacturing engineering.
Morgan is currently working with Big Brothers Big Sisters to promote education and Meals on Wheels delivering lunches to the community.
He also has done community work with Mott's "From the Heart" Program; spoked for Wines Elementary Run-a-thon on the importance of fitness; visited Joshua's Lemonade stand in Detroit; worked clinics for high school students and coaches in Ivory Coast; visited an orphanage in Ivory Coast; spoken at Brighton Community Bible Church youth group on faith; spoken at Huron Hills Church on faith in sports and life.
Joe Harris, 6-6 senior guard from Chelan, Wash.
Harris, one of the most prolific shooters and scorers in Virginia history, is averaging 11.6 points a game for the No. 11 Virginia Cavaliers (20-5, 11-1 ACC). He is shooting 46.9 percent from the field and 43.4 percent from the three-point line. Harris also has dished out 55 dimes and grabbed 3.0 rebounds a game.
Harris has volunteered his time at the Charlottesville Boys and Girls Club, local elementary schools and local hospitals. He presented a "Good Eating Practices" workshop at a local elementary school and is active in Virginia's Athletes Committed to Education (ACE) program. Harris also helped organize and participate in a trip to Camp Holiday Trails, a camp for children with special health needs.
Harris is a member of Virginia's Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC), Student-Athlete Mentors (SAM) and Student-Athletes Committed to Honor (SACH). Harris will graduate this May with a degree in sociology.
Dau Jok, 6-4 senior guard from Des Moines, Iowa
Jok has been a four-year member of Penn's men's basketball program and one of its captains each of the last two seasons. On the court, Jok has played in all but one game this season. He has 20 points and 26 rebounds in 110 minutes of action for the Quakers (6-14, 3-3 Ivy League).
It has been off the court where Jok has really shined.
Jok, who escaped war-torn Sudan when he was 11 years old, is the founder and director of the Dut Jok Youth Foundation (www.dutjokyouthfoundation.org). Through his foundation, Jok aims to fight poverty and violence in post-conflict South Sudan through access to sports and academics.
In his position with the foundation, Jok Oversees a group of 11 volunteers that has helped raised $14,000. He manages and supervises foundation volunteers for youth empowerment organization in South Sudan. Jok also designs the sports and leadership building curriculum for facilitators and coaches as well as coordinates the delivery of sports equipment and donations to South Sudan.
Jok is also Vice-Chair of Athletics for the Seniors For Penn Fund 2014 committee, Secretary of Youth for the Lakes States Community USA, a member of the Sphinx Senior Honor Society and Onyx Senior Honor Society, a member of Fellowship of Christian Athletes in Action, a member of Umoja Student Coalition and a member of Makuu Black Cultural Center on campus.
Peter Kazickas, 6-4 junior forward from Amagansett, N.Y.
Kazickas is averaging 8.1 points and 3.6 rebounds for D-III Hamilton (Mass.) College (13-10, 4-5 NESCAC). He is shooting 56.7 percent from the field, 41.7 percent from beyond the arc and 82.5 percent from the charity stripe.
Kazickas worked with "Hoops 4 Hope" in Zimbabwe during the summers of 2011 and 2013 when he helped repair basketball facilities and the Hoops 4 Hope Center. He taught the children fundamental basketball skills and life skills such as HIV/AIDS awareness, the importance of education, how to avoid street life and drugs, being respectable and how to become positive contributors to society using lectures, songs and games. He has generated more than 200 basketballs for the program through clothing and shoe drives in the U.S.
Kazickas also has spent time at a local food bank, adopted a family for the holidays, assisted with a turkey drive and helped with blood drives. He has been an after-school tutor for children and taught English to adult refugees.
Grant Neil, 6-3 senior forward forward from Holland, Mich.
Neil is averaging 4.2 points and 3.6 rebounds for D-III Hope College (16-6, 10-1MIAA).
Neil is pursuing a degree in business management. He was chosen a Men’s Soccer NCAA Division III Second-Team All-American in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America/Continental Tire program.
Off the court, Grant Neil volunteers at Community Reformed Church in Zeeland to watch four- and five-year-olds. He also helps tutor at Holland Heights School once a week. Every summer, he works at Camp Sunshine, which serves people ages 12 to 50 who have developmental disabilities.
In addition, Neil solicited the help of his teammates to assist a local family whose daughter is suffering from cancer.
"Even though Grant devotes endless hours to train for two sports, he makes time to participate and serve this community," Hope College’s coach Matt Neil, who is Grant’s father, said. "Student athletes have rich experiences because of the sacrifices of many, and it is crucial for student-athletes to give back to that community in order to complete the entire process.
"At Hope, our desire is to blend on-field excellence with off-field transformational experiences. Grant has taken this to heart and lived it out. As his father, I am humbled. As his coach, I am honored. He has taken our mission seriously. Our athletes appreciate the support they receive and find reward in providing support and encouragement to others in return."
Aaron Patrick, 6-2 senior guard from Johnsonburg, Pa.
Patrick is averaging 1.9 points a game in 21 games for MT. Aloysius College (10-11, 7-8 AMCC).
Patrick, an education major, has been involved in several community service projects. He has helped out in Guyana, South America during spring break of 2013. While there, he worked at St. John Bosco's orphanage in Georgetown, donating his efforts to teaching reading and writing to underprivileged elementary aged children. In addition, he helped clean and perform needed repairs at the orphanage. Leading up to his visit, Patrick helped organize fundraising projects with the proceeds being used to purchase school supplies for the orphaned children.
Patrick's other community service efforts included participation in an afterschool program at Penn Cambria Middle School, where he taught reading to at-risk students. He has volunteered time in the last two years to cook and serve meals at a homeless shelter in Johnstown through the Campus Crusade for Christ. On various weekends, Patrick helps host high school and middle school students who visit the Mount Aloysius campus as part of the Mercy Youth Initiative. He has also participated in the international Soles4Souls drives that collect and distribute needed footwear around the world. During the summer months he has worked at several youth camps throughout the east coast.
Tanner Sutton, 6-2 junior guard from Harrisonville, Mo.
Sutton is averaging 7.5 points and 2.3 rebounds for NAIA Columbia College (24-2, 15-1 AMC). He has played in all 96 games the Cougars have played since he was a freshman.
Sutton was a starter on last year's team that went 35-1, was ranked #1 in the country for most of the season, and won 35 consecutive games before losing in the Elite Eight of the NAIA National Championships. Since his arrival at Columbia, the men’s basketball team is 84-10.
Sutton has posted 634 points, 169 rebounds, 157 assists and 69 steals for his career.
Off campus, Suton has volunteered at the Boys and Girls Club of Columbia in their 'Fall Family Festival.' The past few summers he has spent time working at Camp Barnabas in Purdy, Mo., a nationally renowned Christian camp for kids and teens, ages 7 to 17, with life-threatening illnesses and disabilities. He has participated as a volunteer counselor and this past summer worked his way up to a member of the Cabin Staff. Tanner, along with two other Columbia College students, has worked diligently to bring a chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes to the campus.
In addition to his contributions on the court and off the court, Sutton has been stellar in the classroom. He currently carries a perfect 4.0 grade point average.
Nick LaGuerre, 6-3 junior guard from Baltimore, Md.
LaGuerre is the leading scorer for D-III St. Mary’s of Maryland (17-6, 10-4 Capital Conference). He is averaging 14.9 points and 4.0 rebounds. LaGuerre, who has dished out 71 assists, is shooting 46.6 percent from the field and 37.9 percent from beyond the arc,
LaGuerre is actively involved in the local elementary schools in St. Mary's County and has also helped out over the holidays volunteering to deliver food to the needy in the local community.
LaGuerre also works closely with the FLOW Mentoring program in the St. Mary's County Public Schools, which serves to foster positive mentoring relationships between students and members of the community and to provide supported, safe, and inspiring environments in which these matches can cultivate the potential of each youth. He plans to give a talk to the FLOW Mentoring group regarding being a successful student-athlete with Type I diabetes (juvenile diabetes).