Rio Grande basketball standouts earn academic award

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 3, 2007

RIO GRANDE — You can have your cake and eat it, too.

Former Ironton All-Ohio center Candace Ferguson and ex-Fairland Dragons standout Chris Dinwiddie have proven players can have success on and off the basketball court.

Both of them were starters for the University of Rio Grande men’s and women’s teams, and both have received NAIA Scholar Athlete Awards for excellence in the classroom.

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Ferguson, a 6-foot-senior, averaged 9.8 points and 4.9 rebounds while starting all 31 games for Rio Grande this season.

“She is a fantastic young lady,” Redwomen coach David Smalley said. “Very devoted to her studies, very self-disciplined and well organized, and academics was always a priority.”

Candace is the daughter of Rick Ferguson and Shelli Blevins of Ironton.

“It’s a great accomplishment for him as an individual and it’s great for our program,” Redmen coach Ken French said. “He’s the first of many more to come.

“We’re extremely happy for him. We didn’t have a lot of highlights, wins and losses wise, but this is a great accomplishment for a great individual.”

The 6-foot-1 Dinwiddie should have won the award last year as well, but a paperwork snafu denied him from making the list.

“I’m glad I got it this year. It should be my second year, but one year is good for me and I’m glad I got it,” Dinwiddie said.

A Sports and Exercise studies major, Dinwiddie was fourth on the team with 12 points per game and shot an impressive 80.4 percent from the foul line s Rio Grande finished 11-19 overall and 6-12 in the American Mideast Conference South Division.

Chris is the con of Jim and Barbara Dinwiddie of Proctorville.