Walter Hill, Anthony Banks and Kelli Ellison were each named to the NAIA All-America Teams on Wednesday. Hill and Banks were key members of the Shorter’s men team that went 34-3, and Ellison starred for the Lady Hawks.
Hill, a junior, earned a first-team selection, Ellison, a senior, was named to the third team, and Banks, a junior, was given honorable mention.
The All-America selection is the second in two seasons for Hill, who was an an honorable mention as a sophomore.
The 6-5 forward elevated his game this season, averaging 16.8 points and 6.2 rebounds a game for the Hawks, who lost in the NAIA semifinals earlier this week.
Ellison, a native of Columbus, becomes Shorter’s first-ever three-time women’s basketball All-American. The 5-6 point guard, who was also named the SSAC Co-Division Player of the Year, is the most decorated women’s basketball player in team history.
Ellison enjoyed her best statistical season as a senior, leading the Lady Hawks to a tie of the school record with 28 wins, a third straight appearance in the NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship and the program’s first-ever national tournament win.
She averaged career-highs in points (10.8), rebounds (4.5), assists (6.5) and steals (2.0). Ellison ranked No. 1 in the NAIA in both total assists (229) and assists per game (6.5). Her 229 assists are the best single season total in school history, surpassing Stephanie Howard’s 175 helpers in 1991-92. Ellison now holds three of the top four single season assist totals in program history and in just three seasons, leaves the program as its all-time leader with 545 career helpers. Former Lady Hawk Erica Bolding is second on that list with 401 career assists.
Ellison scored 1,047 career points and also ranks fourth all-time in Shorter history with 184 career steals. She scored a career-high 29 points in a loss at Emmanuel and set a program record with 17 assists in a win on the road at Reinhardt.
Aside from her accomplishments on the court, Ellison set the bar high for future Lady Hawks with her accolades off the court.
As a junior, Ellison was named both the SSAC Female Honor Student-Athlete and the NAIA Emil S. Liston Award winner. This season, Capital One honored Ellison as both an Academic All-District and All-America performer. She is Shorter’s eighth three-time Academic All-Conference selection and is one of seven Shorter women’s basketball players to be a two-time NAIA Scholar-Athlete.
Hill, a junior, picked up a first team nod while Banks, also a junior, was granted honorable mention accolades.
Hill shot a career-best 38 percent from 3-point range, posted seven double-doubles, reached double figures in 30 of 37 games and averaged 15.3 points in Shorter’s four-game run to the Fab Four of the NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship. The SSAC Newcomer of the Year last year, Hill was named the Southern States Athletic Conference Player of the Year this season.
In just two seasons with the Hawks, Hill has scored 1,129 points and is averaging 17.1 points and 6.8 rebounds.
Banks, who transferred to Shorter after earned second team All-Atlantic Sun honors last season at Florida Gulf Coast, earned his first NAIA All-America honor.
Banks ranked second on the team behind Hill in scoring at 16.3 points per game while leading the Hawks in rebounding at 8.6 per contest. The 6-7 forward shot 60 percent from the field and 72 percent from the foul line and reached double figures in 25 of his 28 appearances.
Banks led Shorter to the SSAC Tournament title by averaging 17.0 points and 7.3 rebounds in Shorter’s three tourney games and for his efforts, was named the Tournament Most Valuable Player. He continued his strong play in the national tournament and had his best game of the season in Shorter’s Sweet 16 win over 16th-ranked Point Loma Nazarene when he went for a career-high 30 points and 15 rebounds.
Banks led Shorter and ranked second in the conference with eight double-doubles.
NAIA All-America selections are 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.