WALLA WALLA, Wash. - Kyle Born, a senior on the Whitman College men's basketball team, has been named to ESPN The Magazine's Academic All-District First Team.
Born, a 6-foot-6 forward, is one of only five players named to the First Team for men's basketball in the College Division of District VIII. The division/district includes all NCAA Div. II/Div. III and NAIA schools in the states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Alaska, Hawaii, California, Utah, Nevada and Arizona, as well as British Columbia.
As a first-team district selection, Born is now under consideration for Academic All-American honors.
The College Sports Information Directors of America (Co-SIDA) administers the Academic All-America program, which is in its 56th year and has honored more than 14,000 students at all levels for all recognized NCAA sports.
Born, who played his prep ball at Stanwood (Wash.) High School, is majoring in English at Whitman with a minor in rhetoric and film studies. He earned Academic All-District second-team honors a year ago during his junior season.
Born, who plays his final college game at home Saturday against Willamette, has posted some eye-popping number this season, leading the Northwest Conference in scoring (19.2 ppg), rebounding (11.1 rpg) and double-doubles (12). He is shooting 58.1 percent from the floor, which ranks him fifth in the conference in that statistical category.
Born's most noteworthy double-doubles this season came against Redlands in December, when he combined 53 points with 16 rebounds, and against Pacific Lutheran in January, when he had 27 points and a career-high 23 rebounds. His 53 points tied the NWC single-game scoring record set in 1955 by future NBA Hall of Famer Elgin Baylor.
Born has been named NWC Player of the Week on two occasions this season. Despite playing limited minutes as a freshman and battling a series on injuries over the past three seasons, Born heads to his final game with 959 career points, 606 career rebounds and a career shooting percentage of 60.4 percent. Over the past three seasons, he has 24 double-doubles and is averaging 15.03 points and 9.47 rebounds.
"Kyle's accomplishments at Whitman have been nothing short of remarkable," Whitman coach Skip Molitor says. "With several 20 rebound games to his credit, along with scoring nearly 20 points per game as a senior, Kyle has made his mark in Whitman's record book. His intensity and tenaciousness on the court have been inspirational. He has been an outstanding ambassador for both the academic and athletic programs at Whitman College. He will be sorely missed."
All-conference honors have yet to be announced this season, but Born earned All-NWC Second Team honors last year as a junior and honorable mention recognition as a sophomore.
Off the court, Born has volunteered the past three years with the Whitman Mentor program, working with the same young boy at a Walla Walla elementary school. "He helps me stay connected with our youth," Born says. "It's good for the imagination because I can return to a place where life is just beginning and ideas are forming. Children are catalysts for the imagination. I also enjoy having a positive impact on children who otherwise have poor role models or lack positive interactions at home."
Born, who has career interests in writing and film production, wrote his senior English paper the magic of childhood imagination as presented in the popular Calvin and Hobbes comic series.
Born is the son of Janet Mott of Camano Island, Wash., and Robert Born of Edgewood, Wash.
Dave Holden, Whitman Sports Information, (509) 527-5902