All-American Wallis to return to Bears next season

| Sports Editor

Senior point guard Sean Wallis has racked up a lot of accomplishments in his Washington University basketball career: two national championships, a Final Four Most Outstanding Player, second-team All-America honors, and schools records for assists in a season (251) and career (566).

Wallis could have walked away from the Bears after four years on the Danforth Campus as one of the most celebrated players in school history. But with an extra year of eligibility after being granted a medical redshirt following his season-ending leg injury in 2007-08, Wallis decided he wasn’t done yet.

Wallis evaded questions all year about whether or not he would return for a fifth year and told the national media after the Bears’ championship win he hadn’t made a decision yet. Now a month removed from cutting down the nets in Salem, Wallis has decided he will return as the starting point guard for the two-time defending national champs.

“The opportunity to spend another year with my teammates playing the game that I love was too much to pass up,” Wallis said. “We’ve become such a close group and it’s so much fun being on the court with all my best friends, and I just knew letting the chance go to do it for another year would’ve been something I’d always regret.”

Last season was Wallis’ best yet, as he averaged 11.1 points and a UAA-best and third in all NCAA divisions 8.1 assists per game. He was named a finalist for the Bob Cousy award, given to the nation’s top point guard each year, and was a first-team All-UAA and second-team All-America selection.

Wallis’ play only grew stronger in the NCAA Tournament, where he averaged 14.5 points and 7.0 assists per game en route to being named the Most Outstanding Player of both the Wheaton Sectional and the Final Four. The national championship victory was especially sweet for Wallis, who missed all but three games of the 2007-08 season due to injury but served as an assistant coach during the Bears’ first title run.

With Wallis returning to a lineup that will lose only one starter, forward Tyler Nading, the Bears will likely open the season as the pre-season No. 1 for the third straight season and will be the favorites to win the national championship. The Bears are hoping to become just the second school in Division III history to go back to back to back, a feat accomplished only by North Park University from 1978-80. But Wallis knows that the road to a three-peat will be a difficult one.

“Even though we return four starters we’re still going to have to make a lot of adjustments to be successful,” Wallis said. “We don’t just lose Ty and his presence on and off the court but we lose our Assistant Coach [Tim Whittle] too – a huge part of our program. Nothing is going to come easy, especially with the huge target we’ll have on our back.”

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