Earning perhaps his most significant national on-court honor to date, Belmont Basketball senior Justin Hare has been named Mid-Major Most Valuable Player by CollegeInsider.com, the site announced today.
Hare, who earlier this week was named to the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major All-America team, led the Bruins to a third consecutive Atlantic Sun Conference Championship and third consecutive appearance in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. Seeded 15th in the West Region, Belmont challenged three-time national champion Duke to the final horn, before losing 71-70. The Bruins finished the 2007-08 season with a record of 25-9. All told, Hare won 82 games in his four-year career.
“This is a tremendous honor for Justin,” says Belmont head coach Rick Byrd. “He has represented our program well, both on the court and in the classroom, during his time at Belmont. With all he has achieved and all he has meant to our program, it will be difficult not having him in a Belmont uniform to open next season. There is little doubt he will graduate as the most significant player of our Division-I era.”
“Justin Hare was a program-changer at Belmont,” says CollegeInsider.com’s Joe Dwyer. “Belmont had been a very good program at the division I level, but Hare helped to make them a great program. As he had done in each of the past two seasons, Hare was the driving force behind a third straight trip to the NCAA tournament. He’s has been a leader to his team in so many ways. Justin Hare epitomizes all that is good about collegiate athletics.”
He is on schedule to graduate in May with honors before pursuing medical school and will depart as the most decorated student-athlete in Belmont history.
Hare was named Preseason Mid-Major All-American by CollegeInsider.com.
The 6-foot-2 guard led the Bruins in scoring (14.7 ppg) shooting 43% from the field and 38% from three-point range. He was also fourth in the nation from the free-throw line, shooting nearly 92%.
Among his numerous accolades, the 6-2 guard is a two-time First Team All-Atlantic Sun honoree and a two-time Atlantic Sun Tournament MVP. All told, Hare ranks second in the Bruins’ NCAA era and eighth in Atlantic Sun Conference history in career points with 1,761 points.
Moreover, the Cleveland, Tenn. native earned a reputation for delivering in high-pressure, late-game situations; hitting the game-winning or game-tying shot in the final seconds a remarkable 14 times. This includes his memorable game-winning jumpshot to carry Belmont past Alabama, 85-83, on Nov. 19, 2007.