By Gerrit Immink '17
Basketball's Harrison Blackledge has been named the top male Hope College senior student-athlete for the 2016-17 school year and the recipient of the Otto van der Velde Award.
Since 1932, the Otto van der Velde Award has been presented to a senior man for outstanding contribution to the college in athletics, scholarship and participation in student activities. The award was created in memory of Dr. Otto van der Velde, a 1915 Hope College graduate who lettered in four sports and was later the team physician for more than 40 years.
Blackledge graduated from Hope College in May with a double major of communication and management. He plans to pursue a career in marketing in either the entertainment or athletic fields.
The native of Canton, Ohio (Hoover HS) led the Flying Dutchmen to an MIAA championship and to the sectional semifinals of the Division III NCAA Tournament. Blackledge averaged 20 points and 5.9 rebounds per game for the 2016-17 season.
Blackledge's 601 points are the third most scored in a single season by a Flying Dutchmen player.
Blackledge's 1,399 career points are the 13th most all-time by a Flying Dutchmen player.
Blackledge was also awarded as the 2017 Jostens Trophy recipient as the most outstanding NCAA Division III men's basketball player of the year.
Blackledge was named D3hoops and National Basketball Coaches Association First Team All-American and Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Most Valuable Player his senior year.
Furthermore, Blackledge has done extensive work in the community. In each of his four years at Hope, he has taught the game of basketball to underprivileged students in the surrounding community. He also worked with the Special Olympics and the Miracle League, at the local Ronald McDonald House, and participated in after-school enrichment programs. In addition, he served as a counselor at the Summer's Best Two Weeks Camp, as a mentor to students.