WALLA WALLA, Wash. - Barely able to play at the start of his senior season because of three bulging disks in his back, Peter Rutledge persevered to eventually lead his Whitman College teammates in rebounding while averaging in double digits in points scored.
Northwest Conference coaches rewarded Rutledge last week by naming the 6-foot-5, 235-pound forward to a spot on the All-NWC honorable mention team.
"Peter had an outstanding year and was a true inspiration to his teammates," Whitman coach Skip Molitor said. "From a health perspective, his prospects were bleak last October. There was a time when his back problems were causing numbness in one of his legs. He continued to battle, though, and as his health improved, his performances kept getting better and better."
Rutledge's resurgence hit high gear early in January when he scored 16 points, a career-high total, at the University of Puget Sound, Molitor noted. "He then proceeded to set a new career-high three times during the second half of the conference season."
Rutledge finished the season with five "double-doubles," games in which he combined at least 10 points and 10 rebounds. Four of those games came in the schedule's final eight dates. In his last game at Linfield College, Rutledge hit 11 of 19 shots from the floor in scoring 25 points.
"Peter's teammates are very happy for him," Molitor said. "They saw all the hard work he put into the weight room and our practices. He's an outstanding player and person. All of us are tremendously proud of his all-conference achievement.
Rutledge averaged 10.8 points and a team-high 6.7 rebounds over the course of his senior season. He also led the Missionaries in field goal shooting, hitting 52 percent of his shots from the floor.
Rutledge saved his best for the 16-game conference season, averaging 12 points and 8.2 rebounds. He was the NWC's fourth-leading rebounder.
In his two seasons at Whitman, Rutledge scored 403 points and grabbed 273 rebounds.
A 1997 graduate of Orcas Island High School (Eastsound, Wash.), Rutledge played his first two collegiate seasons at Skagit Valley College. A psychology major at Whitman, he is the son of Katherine & Warren Anderson of Orcas, Wash., and Rocky & Amanda Rutledge of Hanalei, Hawaii.