A. J. Graves, who completed an outstanding basketball career at Butler University this year, has been named the male recipient of the 2007-08 Horizon League Cecil N. Coleman Medal of Honor. Swimming and diving standout Jessica Weidert of Wright State University was selected as the league's female recipient.
The Horizon League's highest individual honor, the Coleman Award is presented annually to the league's top male and female student-athletes who best exemplify the dignity and high purpose of the league and its membership. The individuals demonstrate outstanding achievement in academics, athletics and extracurricular activities. Candidates must be a senior who has exhausted his/her eligibility and was a participant on the varsity level in a league-sponsored sport. In addition, nominees must have a cumulative grade-point average of at least 3.00 on a 4.00 scale, or its equivalent.
"We are extremely proud of what A. J. and Jessica have accomplished in their collegiate careers as individuals and as members of highly successful teams," said Horizon League Commissioner Jon LeCrone. "While student-athletes so often get praised for their work on the court or on the field, the Coleman Award also recognizes athletes for their character and tireless effort in the classroom and community. These two individuals exemplify what our four platforms are all about, and we wish them well in their future endeavors."
Graves was a two-time, first-team All-Horizon League selection and received All-America honorable mention as a junior, when he helped lead Butler to a share of the Horizon League regular-season title and the regional semifinals of the NCAA Championship. As a senior, he averaged 13.6 points with 95 three-point field goals, while helping the Bulldogs to League regular season and tournament titles, a first-round NCAA Tournament win and a school- and League-record 30-4 mark. He finished second on Butler's all-time list for three-point field goals (303) and third on the school's all-time list for scoring (1,807 points), while setting school records for games played (130) and games started (124). This spring, he was named co-recipient of Butler's Most Outstanding Senior Male Athlete Award.
The 6-1 guard was Butler's first two-time Academic All-American, earning first team ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America recognition in 2007 and second team honors in 2008. He was named to the Horizon League Academic All-League Team for three consecutive years and a two-time Academic All-District pick. Graves, who served on Butler's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), graduated this past spring with a 3.369 grade point average as an actuarial science major. He currently is working for AIT Laboratories in Indianapolis, one of the nation's leading forensics labs.
"A. J. is one of the most focused and mature young men that I have ever been around," said Butler men's basketball coach Brad Stevens. "His achievement in the classroom and on the court is a direct result of his commitment to performing each task to the best of his ability. He represents Butler University well in the community and is a person who is focused only on team achievement."
Graves is the sixth Butler male student-athlete to receive the Coleman Medal and the fifth men's basketball player. Butler's previous male winners were Jody Littrell (basketball, 1989-90), Chris Miskel (basketball, 1995-96), Jon Neuhouser (basketball, 1997-98), Fraser Thompson (cross country/track and field, 2000-01) and Brandon Miller (basketball, 2002-03).
Weidert was voted the Horizon League's 2007-08 Swimming and Diving Athlete of the Year and Swimmer of the Meet at the 2008 Horizon League Championship. She set league records in the 200 breaststroke and the 200 and 400 individual medleys, while leading Wright State to a runner-up finish. She was a second team Academic All-American, and she graduated Summa Cum Laude with a perfect 4.00 grade point average as a modern languages major.
The Coleman Award, named in honor of the league's second commissioner, has been presented every year since 1980-81.