Hilltoppers’ Falk named national player of the year
EDINBORO, Pa. – West Liberty University senior Alex Falk, who will be leading the No. 1-ranked Hilltoppers into their third straight NCAA Division II Elite 8 next week, has been selected as the 2013 Daktronics NCAA Division II Ron Lenz Men’s Basketball National Player of the Year. The NCAA Division II All-America teams are sponsored by Daktronics and voted on by the members of the NCAA Division II Sports Information Directors Association.
Previously honored as the West Virginia Conference and Atlantic Region Player of the Year, Falk joins Charleston’s Ajamu Gaines (2000) as the only WVIAC standouts to earn National Player of the Year honors. The 6-foot-4 senior from Upper Sandusky, Ohio has spent the past four seasons winning basketball games and rewriting the record books on the hilltop campus.
The hard-working guard has played in a school-record 134 games during his four years at West Liberty. With Falk on the floor, the Hilltoppers have won four straight WVIAC championships while reeling off three consecutive WVIAC Tournament and Atlantic Region tournament championships. West Liberty is 126-8 in Falk’s 134 career games.
At his best on the big stage, Falk got his season off to a flying start with a career-high 37-point explosion in an early-season road romp past a Findlay team that was ranked No. 8 in the nation. After earning his second straight WVIAC Tournament MVP Award, he came up big again in the Atlantic Regional. Playing in his final three games at the ASRC, Falk led the Hilltoppers in scoring every night as West Liberty became the first team ever to win three straight regional titles with three consecutive 20-point blowouts. West Liberty’s 2013 WVIAC Male Senior Scholar-Athlete, Falk was the leading scorer in the WVIAC Tournament and the Atlantic Regional.
Averaging a team-high 20.8 points per game, Falk has hit double-figures 33 times this season for the 33-1 record Hilltoppers, giving him a total of 93 career double-figure games. He has had 19 20-point games this year and three 30-point games while moving up the ladder to No. 5 on the school’s all-time scoring list with 1,957 career points. His 101 steals rank among the national leaders and are just one shy of Corey Pelle’s single-season school record of 102. Falk’s 287 career steals rank second in WLU annals only to Pelle. The senior standout heads into his third Elite 8 tournament shooting 49 percent from the floor (232 of 471), 36 percent (51-of-142) from the 3-point arc and 82 percent (192-of-234) from the foul line.
Falk will have plenty of all-America company when the Hilltoppers arrive in Louisville, Ky. for next week’s Elite 8. Four of the other seven schools will have All-Americans on the court. That includes West Liberty’s quarterfinal foe, Winona State (Minn.), which is led by first-team All-American center Clayton Vettes. Also in Louisville next week will be second-team selection Jonathan Morse of Metro State along with third-team picks John Allen of Western Washington and Alex Hall of Drury.