OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – Richmond senior forward T.J. Cline has been named one of 30 candidates for the annual Senior CLASS Award.
To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School ®, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.
“T.J. Cline is a remarkable young man, and a joy to coach,” head coach Chris Mooney said. “He has so many talents that players his size typically don’t have. And he’s grown into a fantastic leader for our team and a great ambassador for our school.”
Over his career with the Spiders, Cline has emerged as a leader and ambassador for the Spider program. He has been active with the local ASK Childhood Cancer Foundation, speaking and spending time with children with cancer or who are relatives of those with disease. He was the primary player involved as Richmond adopts a child with illness every season and has been an active leader in coaching summer camps in the Robins Center.
A business major, Cline has worked hard in UR’s prestigious Robins School of Business, one of the top Business Schools in the country. This past summer, he interned for the NBA D-League out in Las Vegas.
As a teammate, Cline’s statistics say nearly as much about his basketball ability as about his leadership and dedication to the team. He has more assists than anyone of his height or taller in the NCAA and is one of just two players to average at least 17 points, seven rebounds and four assists per game.
“I’ll say this about T.J. Cline,” teammate De’Monte Buckingham told the media recently. “He doesn’t care about his point totals. He tells us that he wants to pass us the ball and get us open so we can score. He’s so unselfish. He’s our leader.”
Cline ranks eighth in the league in points, third in rebounding and third in assists. He has already won Atlantic 10 Player of the Week awards on two occasions and this season became the fifth fastest player to reach 1,000 career points in Richmond history. He was Preseason All-Atlantic 10 First Team.
The 30 candidates will be narrowed to a field of 10 finalists in February, and those 10 names will be placed on the official ballot. Ballots will be distributed through a nationwide voting system to media, coaches and fans, who will select one male candidate and one female candidate who best exemplifies excellence in the four Cs of community, classroom, character and competition.
The Senior CLASS Award winners will be announced during the 2017 NCAA Men’s Final Four® and NCAA Women’s Final Four® this spring. For more information on each of the candidates, visit seniorCLASSaward.com.