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Muhlenberg College

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

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UNSUNG BASKETBALLERS GET THEIR DUE

Obi Nwizugbo Not every student-athlete can be an all-conference player. But every-conference winning team needs contributions from all of its players, including those that don’t always fill up the stat sheet and earn the accolades.

Two such Muhlenberg players finally got their accolades, as seniors Obi Nwizugbo and Kaitlyn O’Malley were named to the Lehigh Valley Small College Basketball “Unsung Hero” Team at a luncheon at Starter’s Pub in Bethlehem.

Nwizugbo (right) has been a valuable contributor to the men’s basketball team both on and off the court. He began the season as a starter at a new position, small forward, before agreeing to return to his customary spot at power forward and come off the bench after just four games.

Kaitlyn O’Malley Since the switch Nwizugbo has scored 11 points in back-to-back games, helping the Mules to a perfect 2-0 start in Centennial Conference play. For the season he is averaging 8.2 points and 3.3 rebounds per game and is shooting a career-best 44.7 percent from the field.

“As a team we got off to a slow start, and I approached Obi and said we’re going to make a change, and as a senior I need you to handle it,” said head coach Scott McClary. “It’s a difficult thing to do, but he’s been our best player in the two games since the change. His attitude and energy are big reasons why we are 2-0 in the conference right now.”

O’Malley (left) made a similarly selfless act last season, agreeing to a move to the bench after starting the first four games of the season. She remained a valuable contributor to the most accomplished women’s hoops squad in Muhlenberg history, hitting a huge three-pointer to key a 13-2 run that lifted the Mules to an NCAA Tournament win at Bowdoin.

“Kaitlyn is here not just for everything she does for the team, but also as a representative of the senior class,” said head coach Ron Rohn. “Our four seniors had to accept supporting roles, with younger players getting more minutes and stats, and that’s not an easy role to be in. The seniors look at this as their team, and their goal is to be the greatest team in Muhlenberg history.

“Kaitlyn shows tremendous poise and dignity with everything she does. She’s the kind of person you root for everyday in practice and in games.”

This season O’Malley has transitioned seamlessly back into the starting lineup and is a team captain. She is averaging 5.8 points and 2.2 rebounds per game for a squad that is ranked 14th in the most recent D3hoops.com poll, a ranking that does not factor in last night’s 84-71 win at Moravian, which is 12th in the poll.

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