Over the summer, now junior forward Patrick Cartier made history for the men’s basketball team once again when he was awarded the G‑MAC Male Athlete of the Year Award.
Every year, the G‑MAC gives the Athlete of the Year Award to one male and one female athlete in the conference to recognize the most accomplished player in their gender during the last year.
Cartier became the first male Charger to win the award in the program’s four years in the conference. He is also the first men’s basketball player to win the award in its nine-year history.
“It’s a big accomplishment for him to receive that award, and for the league to recognize his performance last year,” Head coach John Tharp said. “He was a main reason why we got to the sweet 16 last year, the statistics he put up last year as far as scoring and field goal percentage were really incredible, the whole program’s proud of his award.”
He led the G‑MAC in scoring with 20.5 points per game and field goal percentage with 65.1%. In fact, his career percentage from the field, sitting at 64.7%, is the best in program history by more than three percent. Cartier also became the first Division II consensus All-American in Hillsdale history.
“It’s always a refection of how the coaches have put their trust in me, and the culture that coach Tharp has built through the assistant coaches on down to the players,” Cartier said. “It also says a lot about my teammates, how they’ve trusted me has had a huge part in my success this past year.”
Cartier’s teammates reflected his sentiments. Senior forward Peter Kalthoff called the team a family, who all owe their success to each other.
“I think we have a really good strong team culture and every one of us loves to support Pat, there’s no selfishness,” Kalthoff said. “It’s all about what it takes to win and playing your role, sometimes the role is being the player of the year, sometimes the role is just supporting the player of the year. It’s all about what makes the one fist work, five players working as one.”
As the first sophomore to win the award, which has traditionally gone to graduating seniors, Cartier hopes to add more to his game in the coming years.
“Something I’m trying to focus on is a little bit more of a mid-post jumper, playing more out of the mid-post,” Cartier said. “Also just keep expanding my range to the three-point line, keep gaining confidence out there, and also taking a step in my passing ability. Taking notes from guys like Yarian, Tavon, Connor or Davis, to hopefully dish it out to some of those guys who’ll be my teammates this year.”
Cartier’s success extended into the classroom as well, where he was named to the College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-District team. Not only that, but the National Association of Basketball Coaches awarded the men’s basketball team the Team Academic Excellence Award for the third straight season.
“For the coaches, it’s an important part of their recruitment, this isn’t a public university where they just recruit the best athletes they can find, they recruit people who can achieve excellence in the classroom,” Kalthoff said. “It’s part of the culture too, a lot of us came here of course to play basketball, but also everybody understands that we’re getting a great education here, and I think that we’ve just found a way to weave it into our program.”