The 2012-13 Hope College women’s and men’s basketball teams are being lauded nationally for their academic achievements. The women’s team is part of the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Academic Top 25, while the men’s team has received the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Team Academic Excellence Award. 

The Flying Dutch, coached by Brian Morehouse, earned the WBCA honor for the fourth time in five years. They posted the seventh-highest GPA at 3.546.

Hope is among nine NCAA Division III Tournament qualifiers to make the honor roll. The Flying Dutch were one of three MIAA schools on it, joining Calvin College and Olivet College.

The WBCA honor roll annually recognizes women’s basketball teams across the nation in NCAA Divisions I, II and III, the NAIA, and junior/community colleges that carry the highest combined grade point averages inclusive of all student-athletes on their rosters for the entire season.

The Flying Dutch also claimed the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) Team GPA award for those teams with a 3.300 or better GPA.

“We are grateful to the WBCA for the recognition of this team’s academic achievements,” Morehouse said. “The credit goes to the hard work of our student-athletes and the outstanding teaching provided by our faculty. A faculty that wants to push our student-athletes while supporting their learning fits right into the culture we seek to establish. Our motto of "W.E." which stands for win everything (academic, athletic, on and off the court) is evident in our success in the classroom and on the basketball court. Just as importantly, all four of our seniors already have jobs.”

The NABC program recognizes outstanding academic achievement by a team with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better for the 2012-13 season. In order to earn a NABC Team Academic Excellence Award, an institution must count the grade point averages of all men’s student-athletes competing during the 2012-13 season in NCAA Division I, II, III, and NAIA Division I and II.

Hope, coached by Matt Neil, is one of three MIAA schools to be recognized, along with Alma College and Kalamazoo College.

“Our team is made up of individuals who all learn differently,” Neil said. “Achieving the NABC's Team Excellence award indicates our players' dedication to learning at a high level. Our program is so much more than what happens on the court and our players have shown their commitment to excellence in the classroom. We are very proud of each young man in this program.”

Earlier, three players from the Flying Dutchmen team made the NABC Honors Court for their efforts in the classroom — seniors Josh Holwerda of Gallup, N.M. (Rehoboth Christian HS), Chris Ray of Fort Wayne, Ind., (Homestead HS) and Billy Seiler of Chillicotte, Ill., (Valley Central HS). Holwerda, Ray and Seiler were named to the NABC Honors Court as juniors as well.