SALEM — Awards season for NCAA Division III women’s and men’s basketball continued Monday with the announcement of the 2020 Jostens Trophy recipients, as presented by the Rotary Club of Salem.
DePauw University star Sydney Kopp and Hamilton College standout Kena Gilmour are honored with this season’s top awards, which recognize the outstanding student-athletes in Division III basketball for excellence in the classroom, on the court, and in their respective communities.
The Jostens Trophy is a joint creation of Jostens, Inc., of Minneapolis, Minn., and the Rotary Club of Salem. The purpose of the award is to honor the true Division III student-athlete — the athlete that shows excellence in the classroom, on the playing floor and in the community.
In addition to the trophy, the Wooldridge Scholarship, a $1,000 donation, will be presented in the names of the winners to their institutions. The scholarship is named after Dan Wooldridge, a Salem Rotarian and retired Commissioner of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC), as a way of honoring him for his long-time dedication to Division III athletics.
The winners were chosen by a national selection committee consisting of college coaches, former athletes, college administrators and selected members of the media.
The members of the national selection committee cast their votes based on three criteria: basketball ability, academic prowess, and community service.
A formal presentation of the Jostens Trophies will be scheduled at a future date.
“Sydney Kopp is the best offensive player I have ever coached,” DePauw women’s basketball head coach Kristin Huffman said. “I have been in the coaching profession for (more than) 30 years, and I’ve been blessed with many talented players, past and present, but Sydney is special.”
Kopp,will graduate from DePauw as the program’s all-time leader in points scored at 1,733.
This season, she led Division III in points scored (658) and established new DePauw standards for single-season scoring average (21.9) and three-point field goals made (78).
The 2020 North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) Player of the Year and three-time All-NCAC selection scored in double figures in 29 of 30 games with 17 games of 20 points or more and four contests of 30 or more.
Kopp set a school-record in a mid-season victory at Ohio Wesleyan University, going 15 of 19 from the field including 8 of 12 from beyond the arc for 42 points. She also set a school-record with nine three-pointers in a non-conference victory over Illinois Wesleyan University, a contest in which she scored the game-winning basket in the final seconds.
“Sydney is a competitor with an unwavering work ethic who is intensely focused on her goals and aspirations,” said Stevie Baker Watson, the associate vice president of campus wellness and director of athletics at DePauw. “She is a resilient, high functioning leader for her team and she leaves an indelible mark on our program.”
In the classroom, Kopp maintains a 3.75 grade point average (GPA) with a major in political science.
Earlier this month, Kopp was named a first team Academic All-American as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).
CoSIDA bestowed a further laurel on her resumé as she was tabbed the Academic All-American of the Year for Division III women’s basketball. She is the first Tiger to earn such a distinction.
Kopp has been named to the DePauw Dean’s List six of seven semesters and selected as a DePauw Honor Scholar, a highly selective program for students who show unusual promise and commitment to the development of the life of the mind. Kopp also is a Chi Alpha Sigma National Scholar Athlete Honor Society inductee.
Kopp volunteers as a court appointed special advocate in which she is assigned to assist a family with a court case involving child support services and Department of Child Services to mediate on behalf of the child’s best interest and child’s personal desires.
Also, Kopp has volunteered with PeacePlayers International in Belfast, Northern Ireland, where she instructed approximately 150 youth ages 4-16 from Protestant and Catholic backgrounds to use basketball to unite, educate and inspire young people to create a more peaceful world.
As DePauw’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee president, Kopp has organized a biweekly student-athlete counseling group to help reduce the stigma of mental health.
“Kena Gilmour is one of the most outstanding people I have met in my life,” said Hamilton men’s basketball head coach Adam Stockwell. “He has proven over his time at Hamilton College that he is an incredible athlete; however, his true success is revealed when you learn about him as a person.“Gilmour, a native of New Paltz, N.Y., is a three-time first team all-conference honoree by the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) and earned its Player of the Year award in 2019.
He was named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) All-District Team for a third time and his second straight year on the NABC’s first team.
The former NESCAC Rookie of the Year averaged 22.0 points per game, having played in 24 contests on the way to earning All-Region honors from D3hoops.com.
He finished his career fifth on the Continentals all-time scoring list with 1,935 points at an average of 17.9 points over 108 career games. Gilmour also pulled down 615 rebounds, dished out 216 assists, and came up one steal shy of 150 for his career.
“Kena Gilmour epitomizes the Division III student-athlete,” said Jon Hind, the director of athletics at Hamilton. “He is an exceptional ambassador for our basketball team, athletic department, and institution. Kena is a leader on the court, in the classroom, and throughout our community.”
In the classroom, Gilmour maintains a 3.70 GPAas a government major with minors in women’s and gender studies. He made his third appearance on the NESCAC winter all-academic team last week.
Gilmour has twice been honored by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) as he earned Academic All-America status this season following an Academic All-District nod last year.
A five-time Hamilton Dean’s List honoree, Gilmour received several campus awards including the Gerald Fitzgerald Dale Senior Scholarship, Ned Doyle Prize Scholarship, and Michael Maslyn Prize Scholarship.
Gilmour’s contributions to his communities have been extensive. He has volunteered his time as a clinician at Special Olympics basketball clinics and “Fun Fridays” at Clinton Elementary, which allows students to see college athletes as role models. He has also been a participant in “Trust Treat” supporting a safe Halloween for children, and been an instructor at youth basketball clinics.
This past year, Gilmour worked with Hamilton Associate Athletic Director, Dr. Miriam Merrill, to create the Athletes of Color Initiative, a support group for students of color at Hamilton College.
Also, he was the residential advisor for Hamilton’s Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) this past summer, providing live-in guidance and support to 40 pre-matriculated students.
Gilmour participated in several relief efforts including Oneida County Youth Intergenerational Clean Up, Brothers Organization Area Leaf Raking, and Utica Gardens Clean Up. He also lent his time to fundraising efforts for the YMCA, A Better Chance (ABC House) Bake Sale, and the Black Latino Student Union (BLSU) Emergency Environmental Crisis.
The Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) has had four Jostens Trophy winners: Justin Call of Emory & Henry College in 2004, Megan Silva of Randolph-Macon College in 2006, Colton Hunt of Randolph College in 2013 and Jess Rheinheimer of Eastern Mennonite University in 2015.
A list of all the winners is on Page 8 of today’s Sports section.