Individuals don't make the team; the team spotlights individuals. University of St. Thomas men's basketball players Travis Lampley and Bryan Kaase were highlighted as 2012-13 National Association for Intercollegiate Athletics Division I Men's Basketball All-Americans for the bold teamwork and impressive statistics.
Head Men's Basketball Coach Todd Smith said he is excited that some of the team's players are being recognized for their individual performance on the court.
Senior point guard Travis Lampley made Third Team All-American. He was the nation's assist leader, ending the season with 9.41 per game and 320 total. He was Most Valuable Player in the Red River Athletic Conference Championship, which St. Thomas won. Lampley was also First Team All-Conference.
"Travis has been one of the best players at the NAIA level for a few years now," Smith said. "It usually takes success as a team to get recognized as an individual though. Travis led the country in assists for all levels – NAIA and NCAA Division 1, 2 and 3. I think this will be a great springboard for him to play after college."
Echoing the sentiments of his coach, Lampley said it's a great accomplishment, but individual accomplishment comes when you play on a good team.
"Most of my stats are assists," Lampley said. "I find the open man to help them score, so, in a way, my teammates make me look good. We're all equals on the court, and I couldn't have done it without them."
Teammate, senior Bryan Kaase, received an Honorable Mention as an All-American. He was sidelined last year with an ACL injury, but came back this year to have a dynamic season and has one more left to play. Kaase has seen the team through highs and lows.
"I've been here for four years, and we've grown drastically on and off the court as a family," he said. "It was awesome coming back to help my team, and we want to make it back to Kansas City next year and go even further."
He led UST in rebounds and was sixth in the RRAC for rebounds, with 7.56 per game and 257 for the season. He was also First Team All-Conference.
Smith called Kaase the heart and soul of the team.
"I think the coaches who played against us really saw how tough Kaase was," Smith said. "I can't tell you how many times an opposing coach said he wished he had someone like Kaase on his team."
The Celts made the young four-year program's first-ever appearance in the NAIA National Tournament this year. After a heart-breaking 70-68 loss to Georgetown College, in Kentucky, UST is still optimistic about what the future holds.
All-American selections were made by the NAIA Men's Basketball Coaches' Association All-America Committee and comprises a First, Second, Third and Honorable Mention Team. There are 10 members on each of the first three All-America teams.
Check out other NAIA All-Time All-Americans.