Cherry Named to AA Team

By DAVE GUFFEY for GoGriz.com

For the second year in a row The University of Montana’s Will Cherry has been named to the Lou Henson Mid-Major All-America Basketball Team, which was announced late Monday (March 25) by CollegeInsider.com.

A 6-1 senior point guard from Oakland, Calif., Cherry had an injury-plagued 2013 season, but he played in 22 games (21 starts) and was instrumental in the Grizzlies’ 25 wins (UM was 25-7 overall) and Big Sky regular-season (19-1) and tournament championships.

He did not play in enough league games to be ranked among the Big Sky Conference’s leaders, but if that had been the case he would have been ranked high in at least three categories, as he averaged 13.3 points, 3.9 assists, and 1.9 steals per contest.

Cherry was named the conference’s “Defensive Player of the Year,” for the second straight season in 2013, and was also a first team all-league selection for the third year in a row. He was also named to the Lou Henson Mid-Major All-American squad last season.

Will Cherry. Photo Courtesy of GoGriz.comA rare four-year starter for the Griz, Cherry ended his career as UM’s all-time leader in career steals with 265, which rank him second in Big Sky history.  He is ranked fourth all-time at Montana with 397 assists, and seventh in career scoring with 1,484points.

“We are so proud of Will for all that he’s accomplished in his career individually, but more importantly for what our teams have done over his four years at Montana,” said UM head coach Wayne Tinkle.  “We are talking about 93 wins and three trips to the NCAA tournament in the last four years, along with many school and Big Sky records.  It’s historic stuff, and he was instrumental in all that we’ve done.”

Rather than assemble a first team, second team, third team and honorable mention; the Lou Henson All-America team is one squad consisting of 25 players.  The only other Big Sky player named to the squad was North Dakota junior guard Troy Huff.

The Lou Henson Award is presented annually to the top Mid-Major player in Division I college basketball. The award is named in honor of Lou Henson who retired after a spectacular coaching career that lasted 41 years.

The rest of the team included Travis Bader (Oakland), Billy Baron (Canisius), Jerrelle Benimon (Towson), Tommy Brenton (Stony Brook), Ryan Broekhoff (Valparaiso), Isaiah Canaan (Murray State), Jackie Carmichael (Illinois State), Jake Cohen (Davidson), D.J. Cooper (Ohio), Matthew Dellavedova (Saint Mary’s), James Ennis (Long Beach), Shane Gibson (Sacred Heart), Juan’ya Green (Niagara), Corey Hawkins (UC Davis), Tyler Haws (BYU), Troy Huff (North Dakota), Lamont Jones (Iona), Zeke Marshall (Akron), Jake Odum (Indiana State), Jamal Olasewere (LIU-Brooklyn), Keith Rendleman (UNC Wilmington), Augustine Rubit (South Alabama), Colt Ryan (Evansville), Taylor Smith (Stephen F. Austin).

When he left the game in 2005, Henson was sixth all-time in career Division I wins with 779. He is the winningest coach at both Illinois and New Mexico State. He is one of only 12 coaches in the history of the game to take two schools to the Final Four.