ROCK HILL, S.C. – Carson-Newman men's basketball forward Sawyer Williams (Owenton, Ky.) has been named the South Atlantic Conference's men's basketball Scholar Athlete of the Year, the league office announced Friday.
Williams is the first Carson-Newman men's basketball player to garner the accolade for head men's basketball coach Chuck Benson and the first for the program since Jesse McMurray won it in 2007-08. Williams joins McMurray, Jonathan Martin (2004-05), Brad Woolsey (2000-01) and Collin Martin (1997-98 & 98-99) as the sixth Eagle honoree.
The Carson-Newman men's basketball program has more SAC scholar athlete honorees than any other program in the league. Mars Hill has had players recognized five times, Anderson on four occasions.
"I think this award epitomizes what Sawyer has been about from day one," head men's basketball coach Chuck Benson said. "He is a true student athlete, and I couldn't be prouder of this achievement. It's absolutely a testament to his character and the kind of person he is. We talk about the characteristics that it takes to be successful.
"Sawyer already possessed a lot of those when he got here. Then you look at the personal sacrifices he made in an incredibly challenging academic degree plan. He was super focused on his academics and athletics. His social life was a distant third. He made those two areas his top priorities, and now he sits here with this incredibly prestigious honor."
Twice he earned CoSIDA Academic All-District Accolades. He also snagged back-to-back All-SAC selections as a junior and senior.
Williams turned in his best season as a Carson-Newman basketball player as a senior, averaging 18.2 points per game and 6.8 rebounds. The senior bypassed the 1,500-point plateau in the Eagles' SAC quarterfinal win over Newberry, becoming the 13th Eagle all-time past that post. With 1,528 career he is the 12th best scorer in school history and the third best scorer for the Eagles in the Division II era.
Williams scored double digits in 37 straight games, the second longest streak in Carson-Newman basketball history, to close his career
The senior finished second in SAC history for field goal percentage. Williams hit 61.4 percent of his shots all-time. He ranks eighth all-time in league history with 575 career shots made.
Williams scored 20 or more points 12 times this season. He had seven double-doubles, which are the second most for a single season in school history.
Williams is active in his hometown of Owenton with area 4-Hs. He uses his goat farm to teach area children the intricacies of raising livestock in the offseason.