BROOKLYN, N.Y. — St. Joseph's College (Brooklyn) senior Alec Willis has been selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America to the 2017-18 Academic All-District Men's Basketball Team, recognizing the nation's top student-athletes for their combined performances athletically and in the classroom.
The senior captain becomes just the third player in program history and the fourth SJC Brooklyn student-athlete to receive the accolade.
"To be selected for such an award is a great honor and I am very appreciative of it because I feel this award embodies what it means to be a student-athlete, which is being a student first and then allowing your success in the classroom to carry over to the court," remarked Willis on the selection. "I am blessed for this selection and couldn't be happier with St. Joseph's College for giving me the opportunity to flourish both on the court and in the classroom."
Willis wrapped up a four-year career last week where he amassed 915 points, 252 rebounds, 177 assists and 130 steals and finished third all-time in three-point shooting percentage (37.1) and fourth in three-pointers made (188). The product of St. Joseph by the Sea High School posted career highs this season averaging 12.9 points a game and led the team connecting on 44 percent of his attempts from three-point land.
"A four-year starter and team captain the past two years, Alec has been a major contributor to our program," commented Head Coach Joseph Cocozello. "In addition to his success on the court, his excellence in the classroom shows what a well-rounded individual he is. His work ethic is second to no one."
Willis started in 98 games over his career, tied for 3rd most in program history, and appeared in all but five Bears games over the past four seasons, missing the first this season due to injury.
Off the court, in addition to maintaining 3.83 cumulative grade-point average, landing on the Dean's List six times, and named to the Bears Scholar-Athlete Team twice, Willis serves as the Bears Student-Athlete Advisory Committee president for this school year, after serving as vice-president last year.
He has led numerous community service and fundraising efforts both as part of SAAC and individually. This past fall, he helped coordinate a SAAC effort that raised over $5000 for the American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk and he's currently personally raising funds for Five Time Foundation that supports cancer patients and survivors. Willis volunteers as a basketball coach in his local parish in his hometown of Staten Island and has helped coordinate free youth clinics with the Bears basketball team.
For his contributions both on and off the court, Willis was recently named a semifinalist for the 14th Annual Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup.
"We are very proud of Alec for the way in which he represents the men's basketball program and the entire department through his continued academic and athletic successes," commented Director of Athletics and Recreation James Lally. "Being named to this team is a fitting way for our captain to cap off his senior year."
Joining Willis on the All-District Team for the New York region is fellow Skyline Conference student-athlete Simcha Halpert of Yeshiva University and Sam Allen of Hobart College, Joey Flanagan of Ithaca College, Justin Porrett of Elmira College, Edvinas Rupkus of Skidmore College and Jacob Wittig from the University of Rochester. The 47 All-District honorees from all eight regions advance to the national ballot, where first-, second-, and third-team Academic All-America® honorees will be announced early next month.