THREE BISON MEN RECEIVE ACADEMIC ALL-DISTRICT ACCOLADES

BETHANY, W.Va. – Three Bethany College men’s basketball players were recognized Thursday for their success in the classroom, as well as on the basketball court, when seniors Matt and Mike Drahos (Wheeling, W.Va./John Marshall) and Scott Mezyk (Johnstown, Pa./Westmont-Hilltop) were voted to the ESPN the Magazine Academic All-District II men’s basketball teams Thursday by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).

The Drahos brothers were two of five players voted to the First Team and now advance to the national ballot for Academic All-American consideration, with that team to be announced March 1. Mezyk will not be on the national ballot, but his Second Team selection means he was still one of the top 10 vote getters among the 58 student-athletes who were nominated.

To be eligible, a student-athlete must be a varsity starter or key reserve, maintain a cumulative G.P.A. of 3.20 on a scale of 4.00, have reached sophomore athletic and academic standing at their current institution and be nominated by their sports information director. All NCAA Division II and III schools, as well as NAIA institutions, in Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and West Virginia make up District II.

"Winning these awards is a great honor for Matt, Mike, and Scotty,” said Bethany head coach Aaron Huffman. “All three are wonderful students and do a great job in the classroom. It’s great to see them get recognized for it and we are very proud of them."

This is the second All-District award for Mike Drahos, as he was a Second Team pick a year ago. On the court, he is a two-time PAC Player of the Year and is having another fantastic season. Drahos is second on the team and fifth in the PAC in scoring with 17.6 points per game. The 6-5 forward is also ranked third in the league in three other categories, including assists (3.7), field goal percentage (57.8) and free throw percentage (82.8). His eight double-doubles this season give him 34 for his career.

In terms of career numbers, Drahos is etching his name among the best ever at Bethany. His 1,582 career points not only rank him fifth all-time at the school, it also makes him one of just five men’s players ever to go over 1,500 career points. In addition, Drahos is just the third player in Bethany history to surpass 800 career rebounds, as his 827 place him third all-time at the school.

In the classroom, Drahos has earned better than 3.6 GPA as a Psychology major. He has earned a spot on the PAC Academic Honor Roll twice and has been on the Dean’s List four times. Drahos is also a member of the Psi Chi Psychology Honor Society.

This is the first award for Matt Drahos, who is having an exceptional season on the court to match his academic success. On the floor, he is leading the PAC and is ranked in the top 14 in all of Division III in scoring with 23.5 points per game. He is also leading the league in field goal percentage by shooting 58.5 percent from the floor, while also averaging 8.5 rebounds per game, which is fourth in the PAC, and 1.6 blocks per game, good for second.

The 6-6 forward/center added a pair of single-game records to his lengthy list of achievements this year as well. He scored 49 points in a Jan. 16 victory over Westminster (Pa.) College to break the single-game scoring record that was originally set more than 40 years ago. Less than two weeks later, he set a new single-game rebounding mark with 26 boards in a home victory over Westminster Jan. 28.

Drahos’s career numbers, which include 37 double-doubles, are also rewriting the record book at BC. He is third all-time in scoring with 1,832 career points and stands 18 rebounds away from the school’s career record, as he has pulled down 883 boards. In the 104 games he has played in during his career, Matt is averaging 17.6 points and 8.5 rebounds per game.

Also on the court, Matt and Mike Drahos are part of the winningest class in the 97-year history of men’s basketball at Bethany. They, along with senior guard Josh Polantz (Johnstown, Pa./Westmont-Hilltop) earned that honor with a victory at Thomas More (Ky.) College Jan. 7 and have built a 72-32 career mark as members of the Bison.

Academically, Matt’s credentials are just as sterling, as his GPA is above 3.5 as a Biology/Pre-Med major. A two-time member of the PAC Academic Honor Roll and four-time member of the Dean’s List, he is a member of the Beta Beta Beta Biology and Gamma Sigma Epsilon Chemistry honor societies.

Mezyk is in his second year at Bethany after transferring from Pitt-Johnstown. He earned Honorable Mention All-PAC last year after finishing third in the PAC in assists and the 5-11 point guard is on top of the conference this season with 4.1 assists per game. He is also averaging 9.4 points per game and is second in the PAC in three-point accuracy, as he is shooting 45.8 percent from the arc this year.

It was Mezyk’s marksmanship from the three-point line that earned him national recognition this year. He went eight-for-eight from deep for a career-high 24 points in a Jan. 14 victory over Washington & Jefferson (Pa.) College. Not only was his flawless shooting a school record for most threes hit without a miss in a game, he is also the only player in the nation this year to be perfect in eight attempts from the three-point line.

Away from the gym, Mezyk is sporting a GPA higher than 3.7 as an Elementary Education major. He has earned Dean’s List honors twice and PAC Academic Honor Roll status once.

Together, this trio is leading Bethany to another brilliant season. The Bison are currently 19-4 on the year, have won 14 consecutive games and already clinched their second straight PAC regular season championship with two games to go. Unbeaten in 10 conference outings this season, Bethany has won 20 consecutive games against league foes. They will also be the top seed and have home court advantage throughout the upcoming PAC Tournament, which will begin Feb. 21.

According to Huffman, the team is just as proud of what they accomplish in the classroom as what they do on the floor, even it does get overshadowed by some of their records.

"With all of the on-court success we've had these past three years, our teams' academic accomplishments have been somewhat overlooked,” said Huffman. “This is a great way for our successful student-athletes to be honored and for our team to get noticed for what it does in the classroom, as well as on the court."