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Zeller Recognized as the Academic All-American of the Year

Alternate title: "Tyler Zeller Continues to be Awesome at Everything."

Tyler Zeller picked up a pair of honors today, becoming not only the first Tar Heel basketball player to be named as the Academic All-American of the Year, but also the first to be named to two 1st-Team Academic All American teams. (via Tar Heel Blue)

University of North Carolina senior forward Tyler Zeller and University of Delaware junior forward Elena Delle Donne are the 2012 Capital One Academic All-Americas of the Year for men's and women's basketball, as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America.

Zeller, a business administration major with a 3.62 grade point average, becomes the first Tar Heel to earn first-team Academic All-America honors in two seasons. Averaging 15.6 points, 9.4 rebounds and 1.3 blocked shots, he has led the seventh-ranked Tar Heels to a 24-4 overall record and 11-2 mark in ACC play.

"This is a great honor and something I have worked for my entire four years at Carolina," says Zeller. "To be the first Tar Heel to win this award at a school with so much tradition and prestige adds to the honor. It truly means a lot to my family. My parents brought me up with the belief that academics are moreimportant than athletics, so as much as it means to me, it may mean even more to my mom and dad. And I thank them for the guidance and support they've always given my brothers and me."

Zeller, a three-time Academic All-ACC selection, was the 2011 recipient of the Skip Prosser Award as the ACC's top men's basketball scholar-athlete.

Not surprisingly, among the first to make sure that Zeller got his props was the man who so often makes sure that Zeller gets his touches:

On a team with a lot of extremely likable players, Tyler Zeller can certainly hold his own with any of them.  Obviously he is a tremendous basketball player who is having an outstanding year; one that should see him recognized as a 1st-Team All-ACC performer and potential ACC Player of the Year and All-American.  But is his ability to do that, against the highest level of competition, all while remaining soft-spoken, (seemingly) humble, and absolutely dominating in the classroom (and he's not taking basket weaving) that truly makes him one of the unique players in all of college sports.

So a hearty congratulations goes out to Tyler Zeller, and I certainly hope that this is just the first of many more accolades to come!

Brian: This is a big, big deal. This kind of accomplishment is more than just being a good player or student. Zeller is not excelling in just one or two dimensions but rather has his act together on multiple levels. That takes a special kind of person and a level of maturity not many kids have at this stage of their life.  Congrats to Zeller for this well deserved honor.