NEWBERG, Ore. - Head coach Mark Sundquist of George Fox University has been named the Northwest Conference Coach of the Year for the second time while two of his Bruin players have received All-Conference honors, Sean Atkins being named to the First Team and Anthony Sanchez being tabbed for the Second Team.
Sundquist, who has coached at George Fox for 13 seasons, led the upstart Bruins to a 15-11 overall record and a third-place tie with Lewis & Clark at 10-6 after being picked to finish sixth in the pre-season NWC coaches’ poll. The Bruins swept their Yamhill County rivals, the Linfield Wildcats, for the first time in seven years, posted impressive road wins over NAIA teams Northwest Christian and Corban, SCIAC power California Lutheran, Lewis & Clark, and pulled off the NWC stunner of the year at league champion and then-third in the nation Whitworth. The Bruins made the NWC Tournament for only the third time in their 18 years in the conference and for the second time in the last four years.
Sundquist earned his first NWC Coach of the Year award in the 2004-05 season when he guided the Bruins to an 18-7 record and second place in the conference with a 13-3 league mark. His career record stands at 137-190 (.419), and he is the second-winningest coach in George Fox men’s basketball history to Mark Vernon’s 318-218 record from 1982-2000.
Atkins, a junior forward from Longview, Wash., led the Bruins with 16.7 points, 1.88 steals, and 1.20 blocked shots per game. His free throw percentage of .811 was also the best on the team, and he was second with a .467 field goal percentage while tying for second in rebounding with 5.3 a game.
Atkins scored in double digits 21 time, with 20 or more 12 times, including a career-high 27 vs. Whitworth. His other highs included 11 rebounds vs. Willamette, six assists and six steals vs. Linfield, and four blocks at Corban. He was a perfect 12-for-12 from the free throw line vs. California-Santa Cruz.
In conference statistics, Atkins led the league in blocked shots and ranked third in scoring and steals. He was fourth in free throw percentage, tied for eighth in rebounding, and 13th in field goal percentage. As a sophomore, he earned honorable mention All-Conference honors.
Sanchez, a senior wing from Inglewood, Calif., paced the Bruins in assists with a 3.44 average, was second in scoring with 13.8 points a game and in three-point field goals with 34, and tied for second in rebounding with 5.3 per game. He also shot .443 from the field, .691 from the line, and had 18 steals and five blocks.
Sanchez reached double figures in points 22 times this season, with 20 or more four times, three times scoring 26 vs. Pacific, Lewis & Clark, and at Pacific Lutheran. He had 11 rebounds at Corban and 10 at Lewis & Clark. His other highs included six assists vs. Whitman, Willamette, and at Puget Sound, and five steals at Linfield. In the game at Corban, he tied the Bruin record for free throws made in a game (16) and set a new record for free throw attempts (23).
In NWC statistics, Sanchez led the league in assists, tied for eighth in rebounding, and ranked 10th in scoring, 15th in free throw percentage, and 18th in three-point percentage (.321).
In his two years at George Fox after transferring from Mt. San Antonio College, Sanchez scored 657 points with 81 three-pointers, 248 rebounds, 127 assists, 43 steals, and 10 blocks. He averaged 13.1 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game.
Ben Eisenhardt of league runner-up Whitman was named the NWC Player of the Year.