It has been an All-American week for a quartet of local collegiate basketball players.
Last week, Trevecca Nazarene junior Michael France was named to the NAIA’s Division I All-America third team, and London Elie, a sophomore forward for Trevecca's women's team, earned NAIA honorable mention All-America honors.
On Monday, Vanderbilt’s sophomore guard John Jenkins was named an honorable mention All-American by the Associated Press. And Wednesday, senior Jence Rhoads of the Vanderbilt women’s basketball team was also tabbed as an AP honorable mention All-American.
For France, the selection came as a bit of a surprise. But the Shelbyville native had numbers worthy of recognition. The 6-foot-1 guard led the Trojans, who finished the season 11-18, with 18.2 points a game and finished with 81 assists, which was the second most on the team.
“I think it is a great accomplishment,” France said. “It is my goal to try to become an All-American, but I don’t think about it as I am playing. ... I still should work harder. I made third team. Now I have to try to get to first team. There is always room for improvement. I need to try to be a better leader and get things right so we can make it to the national tournament next year.”
Jenkins enjoyed a breakout season with the Commodores. After being named the Southeastern Conference’s Sixth Man of the Year, the 6-foot-4 guard became even more of a scoring threat. Jenkins, a Station Camp product, led the SEC with 19.5 points a game, made 96 3-pointers and shot 40.2 percent from beyond the arc.
Rhoads ended her career at Vanderbilt as the first player in school history to score 1,100 points, dish out 500 assists and grab 400 rebounds. The guard from Slippery Rock, Pa., averaged 11.7 points, 4.9 rebounds and a team-high 4.8 assists during the 2010-11 campaign. She also led the team with 30 steals and in minutes played per game (35.1).
In addition, three Tennessee Lady Vols earned All-American recognition. Forward Shekinna Stricklen was named to the third team and guards Angie Bjorklund and Meighan Simmons were tabbed as honorable mention selections.