PERU - Peru State men's basketball student-athlete Deonte McReynolds has been named the Heart of America Athletic Conference (Heart) recipient of the Emil S. Liston award for junior men's basketball players.
 
McReynolds is the first-ever Liston award winner for Peru State. He was pleased to learn of the recognition and stated, "It is an honor to learn that I am the first from Peru State to ever have been selected at the conference level to earn this award."
 
The NAIA Emil S. Liston Award named in honor of the NAIA's first executive secretary and the prime mover behind the men's basketball tournament. The scholarship has been presented annually since 1950 to one junior men's and one junior women's basketball student-athlete who has shown high athletic and scholastic achievement. 

In order to be nominated, a student-athlete must be at least a junior in academic status with a 3.50 overall grade point average (on a 4.00 scale). The selection is based on combined athletic and academic achievement. A minimum of five (5) recommendation letters were included as part of the nomination packet. In addition, a letter from the respective head coach was need addressing McReynolds' playing ability.
   
McReynolds, a senior-to-be accounting/CPA major, presently has a perfect 3.889 grade point average. Some of his academic achievements include being on the President's List once and the Dean's List once since transferring to Peru State. In addition, this summer, McReynolds was named as a Heart Scholar-Athlete.
 
In addition to being a member of the Bobcat basketball team which made the national tournament this past season, McReynolds is one of the team's representatives on the Student Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC).
 
His head men's basketball coach Bob Ludwig wrote this of McReynolds in his recommendation letter, "I am writing this letter to speak to the tremendous value that Deonte McReynolds brings to the table in our men's basketball program. His impact is not felt just athletically, but also in his value as a leader by constant example." Continuing Ludwig noted, "In my 13 years of coaching, he is among the highest character of players I have been around."
 
One of his instructors, Matt Gleason – CPA, CMA, CFM, CIA – stated "For starters, Deonte McReynolds is one of the smartest and brightest minds I have had the pleasure to know. He has demonstrated excellent critical thinking skills, problem solving skills, pattern recognition skills, and interpersonal skills, both inside and outside of the classroom." Gleason added, "His clear conceptual thinking can be seen in the thoughtful and brilliant questions he raises to me in my classes."
 
His junior college coach, Aaron Rolle of Morton College, had similar sentiments as Coach Ludwig, but noted some additional things. Rolle stated, "In my 17 years of coaching I have not had the pleasure of coaching a humbler young man than Deonte. Despite his 45-minute commute and part-time job, he was consistently early to basketball functions as well as his classes which led to success in both forums. He made no excuses, and never asked for help or special treatment."
 
McReynolds' nomination has been forwarded by the conference to the NAIA national office for judging with the others conference nominees. The winner will be announced in September as part of the NAIA National Awards Day.