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Team makes Top 25, Menefee honored nationally

February 13, 2008

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - This week Nathan Menefee has earned double recognition for his play. First, on Tuesday Menefee was named Cascade Conference Player of the Week. Then today, he was selected as the NAIA Division II Men's Basketball Player of the Week.

"It is a great honor for Nate. He is maturing as a basketball player, works hard and it's paying off for him". Commented coach Jeff Drinkwine.

Menefee, a 5-10 sophomore guard from nearby Lacey, Wash., (Timberline High School) broke a school record in a pair of 25-plus point games last week. He was a big reason to push his club into the Top 25 this week as the Geoducks vaulted to No. 23.

When one see's Menefee play they will notice that he's more than a go-to-shooter. He can shoot from the inside and out and is strong defensively.

In the 92-64 win against Northwest (Wash.), Nathan poured in a season-tying 32 points on 13-of-18 shooting. He added eight boards, five assists, three steals and two blocks. Against Northwest Christian, Menefee hit for his 16th game of 20 or more points - a new school record. He finished with 26 points and three steals. He now holds a streak of 10-plus points in all 22 games this year. His school best surpassed the old mark of 14, 20-point games.

For the week, he shot 21-of-31 (.677) from the field including 7-of-12 (.583) from long range. He totaled two blocks and six steals. In NAIA statistical rankings, Menefee stands fifth in points (23.4 ppg) and 21st in steals (2.3 spg).

It is the first time a men's basketball team member has received this honor in Evergreen's history.

For the first time since 2003, the Evergreen Men's team is ranked in the top 25 in the NAIA Division II basketball polls. Evergreen jumps from 33rd last week to 23rd today.

Coach Drinkwine was happy, but cautious with the news.

"We knew we were good enough to make the top 25. It reflects the team's desire to be among the best. We have to keep up the hard work to stay there."

Eight of the top 10 teams shuffled around in the eighth regular season National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Division II Men's Basketball Top 25 Coaches' Poll, announced today (Feb. 13).

Despite losing last week to then-No. 8 Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.), No. 1 Morningside stays on top for the fifth straight week but its points lead has shrunk. MC holds 502 points and 11 first-place nods while No. 2 Walsh (Ohio) received 495 points and five first-place votes. Defending national champion, MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.), moves up two slots to No. 3 after an 93-85 overtime win against then-No. 2 Evangel (Mo.). Standing at 20-5, Evangel is at No. 4 followed by No. 5 William Penn (Iowa) - WPU notched the remaining first-place vote, its first this year. Oregon Tech moves up one spot to No. 6, No. 7 Bellevue (Neb.) improves two places while Ozarks (Mo.) falls to No. 8. No. 9 Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.) falls one spot and Bethel (Ind.) holds at No. 10.

Four squads enter this week's poll after receiving votes last time: No. 18 (tie) Jamestown (N.D.), No. 22 Cedarville (Ohio), No. 23 Evergreen State (Wash.) and No. 25 Ottawa (Kan.). One of the biggest jumps, up seven spots, is No. 16 Northwood (Fla.). Coached by former NCAA Division I coach Rollie Massimino, Northwood has won seven straight including an upset over then-No. 6 Embry-Riddle (Fla.) back on Jan. 30.

For in-depth coverage of NAIA Men's Basketball, click here