by Mark Jagord, sports information assistant
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MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. – Junior Shanteona Keys (Roswell, Ga.) of the Georgia College women's basketball team has been chosen as one of 16 female finalists for the 2014 Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar Award as announced by Diverse: Issues In Higher Education magazine on Thursday.
"This award embodies everything that Shanteona Keys represents," said Georgia College head women's basketball coach Maurice Smith. " I'm very proud of her ability not only to excel on the basketball court, but more importantly in the classroom and community. She is well deserving to be a finalist for this award and it's outstanding that others are recognizing her nationally for all her accomplishments."
Keys was selected from over 600 outstanding minority student-athletes who were nominated for the prestigious honor. She is one of two nominees with a perfect 4.0 Grade Point Average (GPA), one of four non-Division I nominees, one of five junior nominees and one of five basketball nominees.
The Sports Scholars Awards were established by Black Issues In Higher Education magazine, now Diverse, in 1992 to honor undergraduate students of color who exemplify the standards set by tennis great Arthur Ashe Jr. To be included, students have to compete in an intercollegiate sport; maintain a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.2; and are active on their campuses or in their communities.
Keys, who carries a 4.0 GPA with a major in mass communication, has been recognized for her community involvement through two other nominations this year.
She was one of 84 nominees by the Woman's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) for the 2014 Allstate WBCA Good Works Team, whose selection criteria includes being a college basketball student-athlete who has made significant contributions to the greater good of their communities through volunteerism and civic service. Keys was also nominated for the Peach of an Athlete (POA) Role Model Award sponsored by the Atlanta Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America to recognize athletes who are positive role models; and who excel in academics, athletics and service to the community.
On the court she helped lead the Bobcats to the 2014 Peach Belt Conference (PBC) Tournament Championship game and finished in the PBC top-10 in four categories, as well as also finishing in the top-10 in four Georgia College all-time career categories.
Keys is a two-time Academic All-American, three-time All-Peach Belt Conference (PBC) Team and PBC All-Academic Team selection, and former PBC Freshman of the Year. She is also the national representative for the PBC's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and Georgia College's SAAC president.
The Georgia College Department of Athletics, two-time winners of the PBC Commissioner's Cup, sponsors 11 varsity athletic programs at the NCAA Division II level. As a Division II program, Bobcat Athletics prides itself on balancing the life of the student-athlete, evidenced by the teams' multiple appearances in post-season competition as well as documented academic success and community-service involvement. Sign up at @GCBobcats on Twitter and Facebook for up-to-the-minute reports, and visit GCBobcats.PhotoReflect.com to purchase photo prints from home athletic contests.