Daniel Zitani earns first team All-NWC honors as a senior

The incredible transformation of Daniel Zitani from a reserve forward to a dominant force in the Northwest Conference is now complete.

The Pacific senior has been rewarded for an impressive season with his selection to the All-NWC men’s basketball team.

Zitani led the conference in both scoring and rebounding, and he guided the Boxers to a 16-9 record, a fifth-place NWC finish and the team’s first back-to-back winning seasons since the 1993-94 campaign.

“Daniel is a true example of the phrase, ‘Hard work pays off,’” Pacific head coach Tim Cleary said. “To go from a six-points-per-game player as a junior to the leading scorer and rebounder in the league as a senior is a real testament to his drive and work ethic.

“Daniel made immense sacrifices throughout the off-season and was a tireless worker on his game.”

Zitani proved to be a dominant player for the Boxers on both ends of the floor. He led the NWC with averages of 19.1 points and 8.0 rebounds per game, and he led the league in scoring from the first game of the season to the last. Zitani started all 25 games for Pacific and scored in double digits in all but five of them, finishing the year with eight double-doubles.

Zitani scored 20 or more points in 12 games and had two 30-point performances. He scored 30 points and pulled down 11 rebounds at George Fox on Jan. 11, and then had 30 points against Lewis & Clark on Feb. 15. Zitani also posted 28-point performances at Pomona-Pitzer on Dec. 14, against George Fox on Feb. 11 and against Linfeld on Feb. 21. He scored 28 or more points in three of the Boxers’ last five games.

In addition, Zitani finished the year ranked first in the NWC in field goals made (170), free throws made (128), total rebounds (200) and points (477), second in defensive rebounds (140), third in offensive rebounds (60) and blocked shots (26), fourth in minutes per game (31.5) and eighth in field goal percentage (.501).

Among NCAA Division III players, Zitani ranked 19th nationally in free throw attempts (190), 47th in free throws made (128) and 66th in scoring.

Zitani was named the NWC men’s basketball student-athlete of the week four times and was also named to the team of the week once.

“To watch him grow — not only as a basketball player, but also as a person — was awesome to be part of,” Cleary said. “I know Daniel would be the first to say he could not have earned this award without the support of his teammates and his position coach, Andy McClouskey. Without question, Daniel will be missed next season.”

Zitani led the Boxers to a 16-9 record, the team’s second consecutive winning season, and a tie for fifth place in the NWC standings at 9-7.

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