UML's Inbar No. 1 in Division 2

08/06/2007
By Used with permission from the Lowell Sun Online.

LOWELL- UMass Lowell senior forward Elad Inbar will be named the NCAA Division 2 Player of the Year today.

Inbar, a native of Kiryat Haim, Israel, was selected by the National Association of Basketball Coaches. The official announcement will be made today during the national championship game between Southern Indiana and Kennesaw State (1 p.m., Ch. 4) in Bakersfield, Cal.

Inbar will be honored at the NABC Awards Show on Sunday, April 4 at the Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas, in conjunction with the NCAA Division I Final Four.

Inbar is the first-ever player from the Northeast Region to receive the honor.

"I'm still upset about how the season ended," Inbar said about UMass Lowell's 89-82 loss to Humboldt State in the national quarterfinals Wednesday, "but this (award) helps that a little bit. I realized I had a chance to be a first-team All-American, but I didn't think this (Player of the Year recognition) was a possibility."

Arguably the best player in UML history, Inbar led the River Hawks to a four-year record of 100-27, which included four NCAA Tournament appearances and NCAA Northeast Region titles in 2003 and 2004 that led to trips to the Elite Eight.

The 6-foot-7 standout was also named the Northeast-10 Conference Player of the Year and earned first team all-conference honors for the third straight year. He was also named the MVP in both the NE-10 and NCAA Northeast Region Tournaments.

"Elad is the most important player in the history of UMass Lowell men's basketball," said Dana Skinner, in his ninth year as Director of Athletics and 15th year at the university. "His extraordinary combination of skills led the program to a sustained period of excellence and a heightened level of basketball interest on campus and in the community that the university had not witnessed previously."

Inbar is expected to move on to a professional career upon graduation. Coach Ken Barer has fielded inquiries from Marty Blake, the NBA's director of scouting, as well as several teams this season.

He has also been a model student the last four years, earning a 3.490 cumulative grade-point average as a finance major, and will graduate in May.

Named a preseason All-American by Street & Smith College Basketball magazine, Inbar posted averages of 19.7 points and 7.0 rebounds per game while shooting .528 from the field and .844 from the free throw line.

Despite UML's loss to Humboldt State in the Elite Eight Wednesday, Inbar led all scorers with 29 points and became the school's all-time leading scorer with 2,099 points.

"I'm happy with the way things turned out (overall this season)," said Inbar. "I expected us to be in the tournament again, and in the Elite Eight. But making it there wasn't as easy as I thought it would be."