St. Louis, Mo., Feb. 28, 2018 – Washington University in St. Louis senior forward Andrew Sanders earned University Athletic Association (UAA) Player of the Year accolades to highlight six selections on the 2018 All-UAA Men's Basketball Team, as announced Wednesday by the conference office.
Sanders is the 10th player in school history to be named UAA Player of the Year. In addition, senior guard Jake Knupp was named the UAA Defensive Player of the Year and head coach Mark Edwards and assistant coaches Caleb Lawson, Jason Jabbari and Steve Wilcutt were named the UAA Coaching Staff of the Year. Edwards earned the honor for the eighth time in his 37-year career.
Joining Sanders on the first team was senior guard Kevin Kucera and senior center David Schmelter,while Knupp earned second-team accolades. Senior forward Matt Highsmith and freshman guard Jack Nolan also picked up honorable-mention accolades.
Sanders, a two-time first-team all-UAA honoree, is averaging a team-high 16.7 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game in 24 starts at power forward. He has scored in double figures in 23 games, and scored a season-high 29 points against Central (Iowa) on Dec. 9. Sanders ranks second in the UAA in scoring, third in field-goal percentage (.551) and eighth in rebounding. He ranks 14th on the WashU all-time scoring list (1,233), and is seventh in free-throws made (335).
Kucera, a two-time first-team all-UAA selection, started all 25 games at point guard and averaged 12.2 points and a team-high 6.3 assists per game. He scored in double figures in 16 games, and netted a season-high 21 points against No. 6 Tufts on Nov. 18 and at Chicago in the regular-season finale on Feb. 24. Kucera ranks third in the UAA in assists and fifth in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.3). He ranks fourth in WashU school history with 472 assists.
Schmelter started all 25 games at center and averaged 10.1 points and 10.3 rebounds per game and shot 50.8 percent from the field. He leads the UAA in rebounding and is third in blocks (24), and has recorded eight double-doubles. Schmelter scored a career-high 18 points vs. Carnegie Mellon on Feb. 18, and has scored in double figures 13 times. He ranks ninth in school history in blocks (90) and rebounds (607).
Knupp has started all 25 games at shooting guard and is averaging 11.8 points, 3.8 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 2.1 steals per game. He leads the UAA in steals (53), and is also sixth in free-throw percentage (.772), seventh in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.4) and eighth in assists (85). Knupp has scored in double figures 15 times this season, including a career-high 26 at Alma on Dec. 3.
Highsmith has started 24 games this season at small forward and is averaging 10.3 points and 3.5 rebounds per game. He has scored in double figures 13 times, and scored a career-high 22 points on four three-pointers against Westminster (Mo.) on Dec. 31. Highsmith ranks third in the UAA in three-point field-goal percentage (.425).
Nolan has appeared in all 25 games in his rookie campaign at shooting guard and is averaging 11.3 points per game while shooting 50.3 percent from the field. He is second in the UAA in three-point field-goal percentage (.467) and fourth in three-pointers made (57). Nolan has scored in double figures 15 times this season, including a career-high 23 at Illinois Wesleyan on Dec. 17. He has also connected on 28-of-29 (96.6%) from the free-throw line.
WashU is ranked No. 4 in the D3hoops.com Top-25 Poll and has a 22-3 overall record. The Bears, who have notched the program's 18th 20-win season, won its 15th University Athletic Association (UAA) championship this season to earn the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. WashU hosts Aurora University in the first round on Friday, March 2, at 7:30 p.m. (CT).