Northern Illinois senior Xavier Silas, a preseason All-Mid-American Conference choice who earned National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) All-District honors last year, has been named one of just 30 candidates for the 2011 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award for men’s basketball.
The award honors seniors playing Division I basketball who have demonstrated high achievement in the areas of community, classroom, character and competition throughout their collegiate careers.
Silas has credentials in all four areas. A year ago, he led the Huskies and ranked second in the MAC in scoring with 19.7 points per game, and also ranked in the top 20 in the league in rebounds. He scored in double-digits in 19 games and his 493 points were the most by an NIU player since 2002. Silas was a two-time Mid-American Conference Scholar-Athlete of the Week – awarded to just one male student-athlete (all sports) in the league each week – and was one of just five players named to the Academic All-MAC team at the end of the season. He carries a 3.24 grade point average in rhetoric communication.
Silas’ character has been evident throughout his three years at Northern Illinois as the Colorado transfer has been recognized as a team leader since he arrived on campus. He has also served as a leader in community service efforts, including in his hometown of Austin, Texas where he has been active with the Midnight Basketball program created by his father, James, who played six seasons in the NBA.
At Northern Illinois, he has interacted with hundreds of kids through visits to elementary schools and through the basketball team’s participation in the annual “Spooky Sports Halloween Party” where thousands of area children show up to trick or treat and participate in games with NIU student-athletes.
“This is certainly an honor for Xavier to be among only 30 possible recipients of this award,” said NIU head coach Ricardo Patton. “In the years I have known Xavier, it has always been quite clear to me that his parents have done an excellent job of preparing their son for basketball and for life. He is what I term a guy that ‘gets it,’ not only on the [basketball] floor, but off the floor as well.”
The candidate class will be narrowed to 10 women’s finalists midway through the regular season, and those names will be placed on the official ballot. Ballots will be distributed through a nationwide voting system to media, coaches and fans, who will select one finalist who best exemplifies excellence in the four Cs of community, classroom, character and competition.
The complete list of men’s and women’s basketball candidates can be found at www.seniorclassaward.com.
Fans can vote now for Silas’ classmate at Northern Illinois, Huskie football senior Jake Coffman, who is one of 10 finalists for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award for football. Fan voting for the football award continues through Monday, Dec. 6, and will count for one-third of the final tally. Vote daily at www.seniorclassaward.com/vote.
Silas and his Northern Illinois team tip off the 2010-11 regular season at 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 12, as the Northwestern Wildcats visit the NIU Convocation Center for the first time. Tickets can be purchased online at www.NIUHuskies.com, in person at the NIU Convocation Center and over the phone at all Ticketmaster outlets by calling (815) 752-6800.
For more information on NIU men’s basketball and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.