Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2006

Whitman Lands Three on Men's NWC BB Team

WALLA WALLA, Wash. For the second time in two seasons, Whitman College basketball players Matt Kelly and Kyle Born have earned all-conference honors. One of their teammates, Greg Ricker, netted postseason honors for the second time in three seasons.

Kelly, a 6-foot-2 senior guard from Walla Walla, Wash., and Kyle Born, a 6-foot-6 junior forward from Stanwood, Wash., were named to the All-Northwest Conference Second Team. Both players received Honorable Mention recognition a year ago.

Ricker, a 6-foot-2 senior point guard from Seattle, Wash., received Honorable Mention kudos this season. Two years ago, Ricker was named to the All-NWC Second Team.

Kelly, who played his first two seasons at Walla Walla Community College, led Whitman in scoring this season for a second consecutive year. He averaged 17.8 points per game, the fourth-best mark in the conference, while shooting an even 50 percent from the floor. He also grabbed 3.8 rebounds and handed out 2.0 assists per game.

In an overtime victory over Ohio's Mt. Union in December, Kelly erupted for 33 points, his career-high at Whitman. He made four of eight shots from the three-point line, snared four rebounds and made three steals. In early January, Kelly was named the NWC's Player of the Week, in large part because of his contributions to the win over Mt. Union.

Last November, Kelly was named to the all-tournament team at Whitman's Wildhorse Resort Classic. In two tournament games, he collected 37 points, 13 rebounds and six assists.

Kelly, a graduate of Walla Walla High School, amassed a total of 831 points in his two seasons at Whitman.

Born, who missed Whitman's first six games this winter with a broken foot, averaged 14.3 points this and led the NWC in rebounding, averaging 9.2 boards per game. After leading the conference in field goal percentage a year ago, when he made 62.6 percent of his shots from the floor, Born shot 62.4 percent this season, placing second in the NWC rankings.

After returning to the lineup and playing limited minutes in three non-conference games, Born got off to quick start in his first six NWC games, averaging 20.7 points and 13 rebounds. While not able to maintain those numbers, he averaged 16 points and 10.1 rebounds, while shooting 64.6 percent from the floor, in a total of 14 conference games.

Born, who played his prep ball at Stanwood (Wash.) High School, posted seven double-doubles (points, rebounds) this season, the second most in the conference. Playing in January at Puget Sound, the eventual conference champion, Born racked up 27 points and 22 rebounds. That was the highest number of rebounds collected in a single game this season by an NWC player.

Ricker, a graduate of Seattle Preparatory School, averaged 9.0 points, 5.25 assists and 3.4 rebounds in his final Whitman season. He was third in the NWC in assists this season.

Ricker joined Kelly on the all-tournament team at the Wildhorse Resort Classic in late November. Ricker totaled 35 points in his two tournament games, making 13 of 19 shots from the field, to go with 12 assists, nine rebounds and five steals.

Despite missing part of his junior season while studying off campus, Ricker finished his Whitman career with 830 points, 442 assists, 304 rebounds and 98 steals. He led the NWC assists as a sophomore.


Dave Holden, Whitman Sports Information,
(509) 527-5902; holden@whitman.edu