WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- Despite laboring through a senior season slowed by stress fractures in his right foot, Mark Bouma capped his Whitman College basketball career this week by earning All-Northwest Conference honorable mention recognition.
"Individual honors are wonderful when they go to someone who has as much character and class as Mark," Whitman basketball coach Skip Molitor said. "Mark is a great kid who works tremendously hard at whatever he does."
Bouma, a 6-foot-4 forward from Conrad, Mont., averaged 13.6 points and 6.5 rebounds in a 20-game senior season. He ranked No. 7 in the conference in rebounding and No. 10 in scoring.
Bouma, a senior co-captain, got off to a fast start this season, hitting double digits in both points and rebounds in three of his first 10 games. He just missed a double-double in a fourth game, combining 17 points with nine rebounds.
The most spectacular weekend in his Missionary career came during a mid-December trip to his home state. One night after scorching the University of Great Falls for 26 points and 14 rebounds, Bouma erupted for 32 points and 16 rebounds at Montana State-Northern.
Those two games earned Bouma NWC Player-of-the-Week honors. In the two games, Bouma made 20 of 35 shots from the floor, including six of 11 attempts from the 3-point line, as well as 12 of 15 free throws. He added six assists and two blocked shots.
Unfortunately for Bouma and his Whitman teammates, he was diagnosed with two stress fractures less than a week after his big games in Montana. He missed Whitman's next five games, including its first four NWC games.
"If Mark had stayed healthy this season, there is no question he would have been the catalyst for more team success than we had," Molitor said.
"On the other hand, it was very gratifying to see Mark come back from his injury and finish his senior season on the floor," Molitor added. "He had some excellent games when be came back, even though he was playing in a great deal of pain at times."
One of Bouma's more memorable games as a senior came late in the season in a victory at George Fox University. "It was a very tight game in the final minutes," Molitor said. "At one point I turned to players on our bench and said, `Relax, guys, Bouma isn't going to let us lose this one.' In our next three defensive possessions, Mark made a steal, blocked a shot and then took an offensive charge. He didn't let us lose."
Playing all but four minutes in that victory, Bouma led the Missionaries with 24 points, making nine of 17 shots from the floor, while grabbing six rebounds and two steals.
Over his final three seasons, Bouma worked his way to a total of nine double-doubles. He fell one point and/or one rebound short of a double-double in four other games.
Bouma finished his collegiate career with 816 points, 446 rebounds, 100 assists and 79 steals. He made just over 50 percent of his shots from the floor as well as 70 percent of his free throws.
Selection to the All-NWC team wasn't the only good news Bouma received this week. A biology major at Whitman, Bouma also learned that he's been accepted into the doctoral program in physical therapy at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Mo. According to U.S. News & World Report magazine's annual guide to "America's Best Graduate Schools," Washington University has the top-ranked physical therapy program in the nation.
Bouma also is waiting word on his possible acceptance to three other physical therapy graduate programs, including one based at the prestigious Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. The other two programs are located at Pacific University and the University of Montana. "If I have a choice of programs, once I've heard back from all the schools, I'll have to make a decision, hopefully by Spring Break," Bouma said.
While at Whitman, Bouma has maintained a cumulative grade point average of 3.75, earning Academic Distinction each semester. He has worked as a student athletic trainer at Whitman for the the past three years.