Spartanburg, S.C. - Nick Schneiders has garnered many accomplishments and awards as a member of the USC Upstate men's basketball team. On Monday, he brought home perhaps his biggest achievement in being named an ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American. The Academic All-America teams were announced by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Monday evening as part of ESPN's Big Monday college basketball telecast.
Schneiders, a senior from Rietberg, Germany, was a Second Team Academic All-America selection in the University Division encompassing all Division I institutions. He earned First-Team Academic All-District honors earlier this month and was placed in the pool for Academic All-America honors. He carries a 3.71 GPA as a graphic design major. He is a three-time A-Sun All-Academic selection and a two-time Peach Belt Conference Presidential Honor Roll pick.
Schneiders is the sixth student-athlete from Upstate to earn Academic All-America honors in the CoSIDA program. Darren Ambrose (men's soccer) was a second team selection in 1993, Marlon Burgess (men's soccer) was a third team pick in 1994, Sean Hartley (men's soccer) was a third team selection in 1996 and Diana Martinez (women's tennis) was a first team selection in 2008 and a second team selection in 2007. Other Spartan student-athletes have earned various national academic honors from coaches organizations.
"This is probably one of the most important awards I have ever received," said Schneiders. "When I came here five years ago I came here to get a degree and play basketball. This award shows I have accomplished a lot at both. This and my blocks record rank up there with anything that I have accomplished."
"I had a fairly difficult time my first two semesters. After that, I figured out how to manage my time. The projects I have had to do (in my major) are time-sensitive. There were deadlines that I have had to meet. So, I have had to manage my time wisely. I have never dreaded the time I have had to put in with my academics and athletics. It's actually been a good thing for me."
Schneiders came to Upstate with raw talent on the basketball court. Despite standing 7-3, he only played basketball for sixth months prior to coming to Upstate and the United States in 2005, and that was a loosely organized club team in Germany. He spent a year as a redshirt for the Spartans before beginning his collegiate career in 2006-07.
Schneiders leads the A-Sun and ranks in a tie for 10th in the nation with 3.2 blocks per game. He broke his own single-season school record for blocks this year, entering the final two games of the season with 86 on the year. He also tops the team with 12.3 points and 6.7 rebounds per game. He ranks among the A-Sun leaders in scoring (15th), rebounding (7th) and field goal percentage (12th, 46.8%). He has blocked three or more shots in 17 of 27 games this season and scored in double figures on 14 occasions.
Schneiders owns all three of Upstate's blocked shots records. He is the career leader with 203, the only player in the history of the program to top 200 in his career and just the second with 100 or more blocks. His 83 blocks this season topped his own single-season school record of 79 set last year. He has blocked seven shots in three different games in his career as the single-game school record. He also ranks 25th all-time in scoring with 808 points and 12th in rebounding with 559 boards.
In addition to his performance on the court, Schneiders has been a standout off the hardwood. He is a gifted student, but is also a talented graphic artist. He was one of 20 student-athletes from all NCAA Division I, II and III institutions to have his art on display at the 2009 NCAA Convention in Washington D.C. In addition, he has volunteered his services for the Upstate media relations and marketing & promotions offices, producing media guide covers, posters, and t-shirt designs.
"I have grown up a lot since coming to Upstate," said Schneiders. "I have learned so much about basketball and about life. Coming here from Germany, leaving my family and friends and coming to a place where I didn't know anyone was a life-changing experience. Basketball has helped me with my life after college. It can't be overstated what my experience here has meant."
ESPN The Magazine/CoSIDA Academic All-America Teams
Matt Howard - Butler
Tim Abromaitis - Notre Dame
Yves Mekongo - La Salle
Cole Aldrich - Kansas
Patrick Foley - Columbia
E'Twaun Moore - Purdue
Roman Martinez - New Mexico
Nick Schneiders - USC Upstate
Luke Babbitt - Nevada
Marc Larson - Bowling Green State
Devon Beitzel - Northern Colorado
Gordon Hayward - Butler
Graham Hatch - Wichita State
Matthew Mullery - Brown
Jake Robinson - Western Carolina