D3Hoops.com Names Whitman's Duckworth
West Region Freshman of Year for Men's BB

News Release Date:
Tuesday, March 15, 2011

WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- The D3hoops.com basketball website has selected Whitman College freshman Josh Duckworth as its NCAA Division III West Region Rookie of the Year.

Josh Duckworth

Duckworth, a 6-foot-2 guard from Los Angeles, Calif., made an immediate impact in his first season at Whitman.

He was named Northwest Conference Student Athlete of the Week in mid-February after averaging 19.5 points in two Whitman victories. He made 15 of 23 shots from the floor in those two games, including four of five tries from the 3-point arc.

In a near perfect shooting night in one of those victories, Duckworth tallied 23 points while connecting on all eight of his field goal attempts and five of six free throws. He also handed out four assists and made four steals.

A few hours after his NWC award was announced, Duckworth played a pivotal role in an eighth-straight Whitman victory -- a thrilling 82-79 come-from-behind triumph over previously undefeated at No. 1-ranked Whitworth.

He contributed 24 points and eight rebounds, both of which were season-high numbers, to the big win as a packed Sherwood Center roared its approval. He was seven of 12 from the floor -- four of five from the 3-point stripe -- and six of eight from the free throw line.

Duckworth: Strong at the hoop

Other season highlights for Duckworth included a 21-point effort in an overtime victory against Iowa's Simpson College. He made seven of 10 shots from the floor in that game while also handing out six assists and grabbing six rebounds.

Eric Bridgeland, Whitman's third-year coach, praised Duckworth's regional award as a "well deserved" honor.

"Josh earned this honor while playing the second half of the season on two sprained wrists and a near-broken thumb on his shooting hand.

"The epitome of competitor, Josh gives you his best in the classroom, or on the floor. Without question, Josh is one of the best freshman to come into the Northwest Conference in a long time."

Duckworth was Whitman's second-leading scorer, averaging 12.6 points per game, during a highly successful 2010-11 Missionary season. He also averaged 3.4 rebounds and was second on the squad in assists and steals.

Duckworth shot 46.7 percent from the floor for the season, which included a 40.7 percentage (17-42) from the 3-point line.

In 16 NWC games, he made 13 of his 22 (59.1 percent) 3-point shots.

Duckworth earned All-NWC Honorable Mention recognition at season's end. Of the 16 players to get NWC post-season honors (First Team, Second Team, HM), he was the only freshman.

Duckworth, who played his prep ball for Brentwood School in Los Angeles, helped Whitman post its best season in 25 years.

The Missionaries rolled to an 18-7 regular season record that included an 11-5 mark and second-place finish in the NWC.

Making its first post-season appearance in 15 years, Whitman knocked off Lewis & Clark in the first round of the NWC playoffs before losing at Whitworth in the conference finals with a national championship tournament berth at stake.

The Missionaries held a five-point lead late in the first-half at Whitworth, but the Pirates rallied to tie the game at the half before pulling ahead in the second stanza to win.

Duckworth is the second Whitman athlete this academic year to be earn a regional award for first-year players.

Jillian Davis, a first-year outside hitter on Whitman's volleyball team, received a similar regional award last November from the American Volleyball Coaches Association.

- 30 - 

CONTACT: Dave Holden
Sports Information Director
Whitman College, Walla Walla, Wash.
509 527-5902; holden@whitman.edu