Burtschi, Nwaelele Share Top Honor at Men's Basketball Banquet
April 12, 2007
Seniors Jacob Burtschi and Dan Nwaelele were awarded the top honor Thursday night at the Air Force men's basketball banquet, held at the Colorado Springs Marriott Hotel. They shared the Bob Spear Award, given to the student-athlete that is outstanding in all areas of the Academy - academics, athletics and military performance. There is no higher honor for a men's basketball player.
Burtschi, a forward from Chickasha, Okla., led the team in rebounding this season, averaging six boards per game and was second in scoring at 13.5 points per game. He earned second-team all-MWC honors this year and was also named to the all-district 13 second-team by the National Association of Basketball Coaches. Burtschi leaves the program as AFA's career leader with 125 games played. He is also the career steals leader with 196 steals and is 10th on the career scoring list with 1,205 points.
Nwaelele led the team in scoring in '06-07, averaging 14.3 points per game, and his 499 points were the most in one season by a Falcon since Otis Jones scored 670 during the 1994-95 campaign. A forward from Bothell, Wash., Nwaelele earned first-team all-MWC honors this year and was named to the all-district 13 first-team by the National Association of Basketball Coaches. He shot 51.6 percent from the field and 45 percent from three-point this season and leaves the program No. 2 on the school's career three-point percentage list at 45.1 percent.
Senior Nick Welch and junior Tim Anderson shared the Falcon Award, given to the player that gives 100 percent regardless of the situation and his place on the team. Welch, who missed the entire 2005-06 season due to injury, scored 9.9 points and pulled down 3.5 rebounds per game this season. The senior center from Fort Worth, Texas, tied his career-high with 20 points vs. Utah on Feb. 14 and posted the only double-double of his career with 17 points and 10 rebounds against Wake Forest.
Anderson, meanwhile, led the Falcons with 62 steals, tying the second-highest total in one season in program history, and tied for the lead with 101 assists. A guard from El Paso, Texas, Anderson was an honorable mention all-MWC selection and will enter his senior campaign No. 3 on AFA's career list for free-throw percentage at 84.7 percent.
Air Force finished the season with a 26-9 overall record, the most wins in the 51-year history of the program. The Falcons finished in a tie for third place in the Mountain West Conference and advanced to the semifinals of the NIT.