Illinois Announces Dike Eddleman Male Athlete of the Year Finalists
May 12, 2010
The Illinois Division of Intercollegiate Athletics has announced today the seven finalists for the 2010 Dike Eddleman Male Athlete of the Year. Whether it's pinning opponents, draining putts, or knocking down three-pointers, there are many ways to excel in sports. Nonetheless, there are those who do it better than others. Their success stands out above their fellow teammates and competitors, and their achievements set the standards for their peers.
The 2009-10 University of Illinois Dike Eddleman Male Athlete of the Year finalists are:
Because of the great attention paid to the skilled positions in football, it is easy for other important players to go unnoticed and unrecognized. Nonetheless, senior offensive lineman Jon Asamoah made his mark on Illinois football this past season. The Park Forest, Ill. native earned second-team All-America and second-team All-Big Ten honors thanks to his impressive play. Asamoah helped the Illini rushing offense finish second in the Big Ten in average yards per game, while also ranking 18th in the NCAA in the same category. In addition to his production on the field, Asamoah took on the responsibility of team captain. His presence on the field, started 37 consecutive games, and in the locker room have had a tremendous influence on his younger teammates.
This past season, senior John Dergo put together one of the single greatest seasons in Illinois wrestling history. The Morris, Ill. native capped off a banner season with a fifth-place finish at the NCAA Championships at 184 pounds. His career-best finish resulted in the first All-America honor of his career. This accomplishment came after Dergo also posted a career-best finish at the Big Ten Championships, winning the conference title at 184 pounds. The list of his accomplishments this season goes on: a 36-4 record (ninth-most single-season wins in school history), nine pins (seventh-best in school history), a 22-match win streak, and wins over the top-three ranked wrestlers during the course of the season. Add on a Midlands title and a second-place finish at the Las Vegas Invitational earlier this year, and it is easy to see how Dergo had one of the greatest individual seasons in Illinois wrestling history.
Playing for the 10th ranked and Big Ten Championship golf team, junior Scott Langley is enjoying a tremendous year this season. Currently ranked 17th in both the Golfstat and Golfweek Computer Rankings, Langley was named the Big Ten Player of the Year and has led his team to the NCAA Regionals as a No. 3 seed. Moreover, his 71.61 season stroke average is on pace to be the third-best single-season average in school history, behind James Lepp and professional golfer, Steve Stricker. With a second-team All-America honor already under his belt, Langley's success on the course makes him a laudable candidate for this year's Dike Eddleman Male Athlete of the Year Award.
In a highly competitive collegiate sport, junior point guard Demetri McCamey emerged as the leader of Illinois' men's basketball team. This season's team MVP and co-captain ranked second in the nation in assists per game with a school-record average of 7.1 apg. Additionally, McCamey led the Fighting Illini in points and steals, finishing with averages of 15.1 ppg and 1.5 spg, respectively. In recognition of his excellence on the court, he earned first-team All-Big Ten honors, becoming the first Illini to do so in four years. McCamey was also named First-team All-District by the National Association of Basketball Coaches, and First-team All-District by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association. Nonetheless, his most impressive accomplishment may be that he became the first player in Illinois men's basketball history to reach career milestones of 1,200 points and 500 assists in just three seasons.
With the 20101 season still ongoing, junior baseball player Casey McMurray has already posted a spectacular year. Through 44 games, McMurray leads the team with a whopping .338 batting average and a .525 slugging percentage. Moreover, his 36 RBIs are good for the team lead, as is his .419 on-base percentage. Additionally, the Willow Springs, Ill. native has 54 hits, five home runs, nine doubles and three triples on the year.
Few athletes in Illinois school history have attained as much early success as sophomore track star Andrew Riley has. During the indoor season, Riley earned All-America honors in the 60m hurdles for the second straight year at the NCAA Indoor Championships. His accomplishment came after he broke his own school record in the 60m hurdles, with a time of 7.61. In addition to holding the school record in the 60m hurdles, the Kingston, Jamaica native also became a co-holder of the fastest 60m time in Illinois men's track history when he tied the record time 6.72 this season. The sprinter also repeated as the Big Ten 60m hurdles champion, while finishing second in the 60m at the conference Indoor Championships. For his efforts, he was named first-team All-Big Ten, and scored 21 of Illinois' 40 points at Big Tens.
On a squad that was ranked No. 1 in the country for most of the year, junior gymnast Paul Ruggeri stepped up to lead the Fighting Illini to its second consecutive Big Ten title. The Manlius, N.Y. native led the team with a career-best 30 individual titles this season en route to a first-team All-Big Ten selection. Ruggeri also encountered great success at the Big Ten Championships, winning the vault and high bar titles. Furthermore, he was recognized as the Big Ten and NCAA Gymnast of the Week three times each during the season. To cap things off, Ruggeri has four school records to his name: vault (16.350), parallel bars (15.550), high bar (16.150) and all-around (90.450).