From SFA Athletics
NACOGDOCHES, TX (Press Release)- Stephen F. Austin men's basketball senior Thomas Walkup recently learned his name was among those listed on the semifinalist list for the sixth Eddie Sutton Tustenugee Award. The semifinalist list was unveiled in an announcement made jointly by CBS host and men's basketball analyst Doug Gottlieb and Tulsa Sports Charities.
Named for former Oklahoma State men's basketball head coaching great Eddie Sutton, the award singles out those players who exhibit the traits of tenacity and toughness advocated by Sutton who amassed over 800 triumphs in his 36-year head coaching tenure.
Gottlieb played for Sutton at Oklahoma State University (1998-2000), and oversees a panel of national media members who cover college basketball.
Walkup, one of just two mid-major players on the 11-man list, is in the midst of a final season in which he is making some substantial edits to the SFA record books with his strong play. The Pasadena, Texas, product has led the 'Jacks on the nation's longest active winning streak (14 games) and currently SFA holds the distinction as the only team in NCAA Division I men's basketball that hasn't lost a conference contest in 2015-16.
Serving as the primary driving force behind the 'Jacks 14-0 Southland Conference mark, Walkup's do-it-all game has yielded averages of 17.2 points, 6.7 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.9 steals per game in his final season as a collegian. With the exception of his rebounding average, all of those aforementioned figures are among the top five when stacked up against all other Southland Conference players. Walkup's field goal percentage of .586 also ranks fourth in the 13-team league and 29th among all NCAA Division I men's basketball players.
The senior has six double-double performances to his credit in 2015-16, too, and is the reigning Southland Conference Player of the Year. In Ken Pomeroy's 2015-16 player efficiency rankings, Walkup owns the nation's 31st-highest offensive rating with a 127.7.
Walkup has set himself apart from other SFA men's basketball players in the program's storied history by taking over as the program's NCAA Division I era leader in career field goals made (583), career rebounds (696) and along with fellow four-year senior Trey Pinkney he is the program's all-time leader in career wins with 109.
Already the recipient of one Southland Conference Player of the Week award and a Sports Illustrated Mid-Major Player of the Week citation this season, Walkup is poised – along with the rest of the Lumberjacks – to capture SFA's fourth-straight regular season Southland Conference title. A win on Saturday night against Houston Baptist would mark the first-ever regular season championship four-peat in the history of the league.
The award is sponsored by the John and Jerry Marshall Foundation of Tulsa. John Marshall was a roommate of Sutton at OSU in the 1950s.
In the language of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, one of the Five Civilized Tribes that settled in Oklahoma, "tustenugee" means "warrior."
Tulsa Sports Charities is a 10-year-old non-profit organization with a track record for hosting blue-ribbon events and gold-medal athletes while delivering some $900,000 in scholarships and donations to area universities and charitable activities.
2016 Eddie Sutton Tustenugee Award Semifinalists
Ryan Archidiacono, Villanova, 6-3, senior, guard
Zach Auguste, Notre Dame, 6-10, senior, forward
Michael Carrera, South Carolina, 6-5, senior, forward
Matt Costello, Michigan State, 6-9, senior, forward
Tonye Jekiri, Miami (Fla.), 7-0, senior, center
Roosevelt Jones, Butler, 6-4, senior, guard/forward
Frank Mason III, Kansas, 5-11, junior, guard
Marshall Plumlee, Duke, 7-0, grad, center
Tyler Ulis, Kentucky, 5-9, sophomore, guard
Justin Sears, Yale, 6-8, senior, forward
Thomas Walkup, STEPHEN F. AUSTIN, 6-4, SENIOR, FORWARD