The team produced a record 3.47 combined GPA for the 2013 fall semester, the highest ever for the Cardinals and the highest among UofL's nine men's sports programs. A total of 14 of 15 men's basketball student-athletes earned a 3.0 or better, with 10 above a 3.4 GPA. The men's basketball team has been around a collective 3.0 GPA for 11-straight semesters.
The 14 men's basketball players are among a record 371 student-athletes recognized on the UofL Athletic Director's Honor Roll, highlighting those that achieve a 3.0 GPA or higher for a semester. The full group of 371 will be honored at halftime of the Cardinals' men's basketball game against Houston tonight (Jan. 16).
The academic achievement is not new to the Cardinals. Louisville received an NCAA Public Recognition Award in 2013 for ranking among the top 10 percent in men's basketball in the Academic Progress Rate, which measures academic eligibility, retention and graduation for student-athletes.
UofL's men's basketball team earned the last three Big East Conference Team Academic Excellence Awards, which recognizes the highest collective grade-point averages in each of the conference's 23 sports. The team produced a collective 3.295 grade point average for the 2012-13 academic year, with a previous semester record 3.41 combined GPA for the fall semester. A total of 14 of 16 Cardinals earned a 3.0 or better for the 2013 spring semester, with 15 of 17 attaining that mark in the 2012 fall semester.
Major individual academic awards were also won as well over the past year. Russ Smith received the 2012-13 Big East Conference Scholar-Athlete Sports Excellence Award for men's basketball. He was also honored with a 2013 Scholar Baller Academic Momentum Award, which is presented to an individual based on the level of academic improvement and the impact of that academic momentum.
Wayne Blackshear won the 2013 NCAA Men's Basketball Elite 89 Award, presented to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point average participating in the finals site for each of the NCAA championships. Former Cardinal guard Peyton Siva was a 2013 Capital One CoSIDA Academic All-America second team selection and was named the 2013 Big East Scholar-Athlete of the Year.