academic all-American, Valley Scholar-Athlete
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[MARCH 3, 2005]
NORMAL -- Junior
became the 12th academic all-American in Illinois State basketball
history Wednesday, while also being named to the 2005 Missouri
Valley Conference Scholar-Athlete First Team.
Plank, who carries a perfect 4.0
cumulative grade-point average in finance, was a second-team
selection on the 2005 ESPN the Magazine Academic All-America
University Division Men's Basketball Team. Plank is ISU's first
academic all-American since Sean Riley in 1999.
On the academic all-America first team
are Eric Castro of SMU, Will Emerson of Mercer, Johannes Herber of
West Virginia, Chris Hill of Michigan State and Derek Winans of
Southeast Missouri State. Hill is the Academic All-American of the
Joining Plank on the second team are
Turner Battle of Buffalo, Erik Benzel of Denver, Craig Forth of
Syracuse and Dan Grunefeld of Stanford.
In addition to earning academic
all-America honors, Plank highlighted a list of 18 student-athletes
honored as part of the 2004-05 MVC Scholar-Athlete Teams, announced
by the league office.
Plank, from Mount Zion, was a
second-team MVC Scholar-Athlete selection in 2003-04, and he is
joined by two others who earned second-team honors a year ago: Jerod
Adler of Indiana State and Rob Kampman of Wichita State.
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The criteria for the Missouri Valley
Conference's Scholar-Athlete Team voting parallel the standards for
College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-America
voting. Nominees must be starters or important reserves with at
least a 3.00 cumulative grade-point average on a 4.0 scale.
Student-athletes must have reached sophomore athletic and academic
standing at their institution (true freshmen and redshirt freshmen
were not eligible) and must have completed at least one full
academic year at their institution.
"Neil is a young man that takes a
tremendous amount of pride in his academics and finding that perfect
balance between being a student and an athlete," head coach Porter
Moser said. "I know that each of these honors was a goal for him,
and I'm very happy that he achieved them. It is very deserving."
Entering the conference tournament,
Plank is averaging 7.3 points and 4.0 rebounds per game. He has
played in 27 games, all as a reserve. He ranks third on the team in
rebounding with 108 boards and is tied for fourth in scoring.
assistant athletics director, media relations,