The National Association of Basketball Coaches announced Tuesday that Kansas University sophomore Perry Ellis was nominated to its Allstate Good Works Team, but he was not the only one with Lawrence ties to receive the honor.
Lance Kilburn, a 2009 Lawrence High graduate, joined Ellis as one of 201 NCAA and NAIA collegiate basketball players to be selected to the Good Works Team.
According to the NABC website, “The award recognizes a select group of college basketball student-athletes who have made significant contributions to the greater good of their communities through volunteerism and civic service.”
Kilburn is a fifth-year senior at South Dakota School of Mines, and has averaged 10.5 points per game through 11 games this season.
SDSM head coach Jason Henry believes what Kilburn has done both on and off the court helped him earn the award.
“Well, his leadership, his volunteerism and the things he has done within the community, of course, but a big part of it is that you have to be a significant player, too,” Henry said. “He has been a starter for us for a couple of years now. He’s a team captain, and he’s basically exemplified everything the School of Mines is all about.”
An electrical engineering major, Kilburn realizes he has to prioritize his time between academics, athletics and his other hobbies.
“I feel like at other universities, it’s more sports-oriented first. But here at like the School of Mines in South Dakota, pretty much everyone on the team does engineering,” Kilburn said. “So the coach understands that our workload in the classroom is pretty heavy, and it’s tough to manage the time between basketball and school.”
The Lawrence native red-shirted last year along with two other Hardrockers seniors. SDSM completed a three-year transition phase from the NAIA to NCAA Div. II in 2012-2013, and while the team is off to a 4-7 start, Kilburn believes the Hardrockers have played better than their record has shown.
“I definitely would like to have a better record, but things are going pretty well,” Kilburn said. “Teams that we lost to by 30 or 40 last year, we’re taking down to the wire this year or we’re beating them.”
At Lawrence High, Kilburn was a 2009 third-team All-Sunflower League selection and was second on the Lions in points and rebounds in his senior campaign.
One of Kilburn’s favorite memories of his basketball career was when the Lions advanced to the state tournament in 2008 after a substate win over Leavenworth. High school teammate Paul Eltschinger believed that Kilburn was pivotal to the team’s success because of his leadership and how he complimented Dorian Green.
“Dorian and Lance were our go-to guys,” Eltschinger said. “If Dorian drew the attention (of the defense), Lance would get the ball and make the decision from there.”