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UK recognized by NABC for team academic excellence

Kentucky is one of just 96 schools across NCAA Division I, II, III and NAIA Division I and II — and one of only six Bowl Championship Series schools — to be recognized by the National Association of Basketball Coaches for academic excellence during the 2012-13 season.

UK was honored with one of the NABC’s inaugural Team Academic Excellence Awards, which were created by the NABC Committee on Academics to recognize outstanding academic achievement by college basketball teams. To earn the award, a team must post a cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 or better for the 2012-13 season. An institution must count the GPAs of all student-athletes competing during the 2012-13 season.

Kentucky easily qualified for the award with a combined team GPA of 3.23 for the 2013 spring semester and 2012 fall semester. UK had a 3.4 in the 2013 spring semester – the highest mark of the John Calipari era – and a 3.06 in the 2012 fall semester. The basketball team’s 3.4 GPA in the spring was the highest among all men’s sports at UK.

“I’m proud of the hard work our guys have put in both on and off the court,” Calipari said in May when the team GPA was released. “When you come to Kentucky, you are either going pro or getting a degree — or both. We call it the success rate, and right now we’re batting 100 percent. When you run a players-first program, it’s not just about loving to play basketball; it’s about teaching our kids the love of learning.”

Starting with the 2013 spring semester and going backwards, Calipari’s teams have posted GPAs of 3.4, 3.06, 3.12, 2.71 and 3.14 over the last five spring and fall semesters.

Also, all 10 players who have been eligible to graduate by the end of their senior years under Calipari have graduated from Kentucky. Former players Wayne Turner and Marquis Estill have also come back to school and received their diplomas, raising the total number of graduates to 12 under Coach Cal’s watch.

In the NCAA’s latest Academic Progress Rate, UK posted a four-year composite score of 963, well above the NCAA minimum needed to maintain postseason eligibility.

Coach Cal has called Kentucky’s academic success “The untold story at Kentucky.”

“Are we proud of our players making it to the NBA? Of course,” Calipari wrote in April. “Are we happy about averaging more than 30 wins over the last four years? You bet. But we’re about more than that here at Kentucky. When you run a players-first program, it’s about helping kids reach their dreams both on and off the court and preparing them for the rest of their lives. You can do both at the University of Kentucky. It’s a standard that’s been set.”

On Wednesday, Twany Beckham and Jarrod Polson were tabbed to the NABC’s Honors Court, which recognizes junior- and senior-level student-athletes who own a cumulative GPA of 3.2 or higher at the conclusion of the 2012-13 academic year.