WALLA WALLA, WASH. -- Joel Keller and Jason McDonald, captains of the baseball and basketball teams, respectively, have been honored as co-winners of the 1993 Borleske Athletic Trophy, which is presented annually to the most outstanding male student-athlete at Whitman College.
The award, which is decided by a vote of the Whitman coaching staff, recognizes athletic ability and accomplishments, leadership and sportsmanship qualities, and contributions to the campus as a whole.
Keller, a four-year starter on the baseball team, enjoyed an outstanding senior season as a second baseman, leading the Missionaries in nearly all offensive categories. He .380 on the season, finishing third in the Northwest Conference of Independent Colleges (NCIC) batting race, while clubbing nine doubles, four triples and two home runs. He scored 24 runs, collected 22 RBI and stole 10 bases.
Keller, a graduate of Ellensburg (Wash.) High School who majored in economics at Whitman, capped his senior season by winning first-team honors in both the NCIC and NAIA District I.
"Joel led our team in hitting this season, and he was probably our best defensive player," Whitman baseball coach Max Seachris said. "He's a hard worker, and he's definitely one of the team leaders. His baseball savvy is just outstanding. He's got a shot at getting taken in the June professional draft, that's how good he is."
McDonald, a 6-foot-2 forward, moved into a starter's role midway through his freshman basketball season and eventually scored 960 career points. He averaged 13 points per game during his junior season, when he made 51 of 124 three-point shots (41 percent) and 27 of 33 free throws (82 percent). As a senior, McDonald scored 11.1 points per game as part of a balanced Whitman offense that saw six Missionaries average between 12.9 and 9.2 points.
McDonald, who drilled a total of 172 three-point baskets in his four years, often attracted double-team defensive coverage from other teams. "Jason could shoot the lights out," Whitman basketball coach Jim Mastin said. "The other teams would put their best player on him, and then they'd put a second player on him. But when we got him open and got him the ball, he drilled it. We just didn't get him the ball often enough."
Whether on the court or off, McDonald was a "coach's dream," Mastin added. "He's a real competitor, someone you can count on. He's very intelligent, very bright, and he's going to do very well in the real world. He's the kind of kid you'd want to take home and introduce to your daughter, and to me that's an ultimate compliment."
McDonald, a graduate of Olympia (Wash.) High School, majored in psychology at Whitman.