Vallejo, CA – California Maritime Academy senior Jaquai Wiley has been named the California Pacific Conference's 2013-2014 Dr. Leroy Walker Champions of Character recipient. Based on the submissions from member institutions for the Walker Award, Wiley was selected as the nominee to go forward from the Cal Pac to be considered for the award on the national-level. This is the second consecutive year that Jaquai has been chosen for the award and the third year in a row that a Cal Maritime men's basketball player has earned the honor.
The award is considered one of the most prominent honors in the NAIA as it recognizes a student-athlete who excels both in the classroom and on the athletic field, while being committed to the Champions of Character program's five core values of integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship and servant leadership. Champions of Character is dedicated to the principle that character is a choice and that being a champion is about reaching your potential and making good decisions consistently in daily life.
"This is a tremendous honor and I am proud to represent Cal Maritime and the conference. I appreciated being nominated and learning that I am representing the conference at the national level is very humbling," Wiley said when he was informed of his selection by the NAIA National Office. "Every day we, as a program, talk about competing at the highest level in all that we do so in that way I believe this represents a collective effort."
During his four years as a Keelhauler, Jaquai had a tremendous impact on Cal Maritime's campus as he excelled in the classroom, on campus, in the community, and on the court. For his efforts in the classroom, Wiley earned President's List honors as well as being named an NAIA Academic All American. Jaquai was also active in campus leadership as he served as a Resident Assistant as part of the Housing and Residence Life Department in addition to being a member of the Leadership Council. Jaquai actively participated in community outreach including being involved in the Grace Patterson Elementary School Reading Program. Jaquai graduates as one of the most successful student-athletes to wear a Keelhauler uniform. He was named the Cal Pac's Defensive Player of the Year for the second year in a row as the team's starting point guard and team captain. During his four years, Cal Maritime averaged 22 wins per season, made three straight trips to the NAIA National Tournament after winning three conference championships and set the school record for wins three consecutive years.
Cal Maritime's Head Basketball Coach Bryan Rooney stated about Wiley, "Jaquai embodies what it means to be a Champion of Character. He accomplished some tremendous things during his time but what stands out above the individual accomplishments is the way in which he carried himself and the positive impact he had on others. The NAIA and Cal Maritime share a common pursuit of developing leaders. Jaquai Wiley is an excellent example of success in this mission. We will dearly miss Jaquai but look forward to the great things he is sure to accomplish in the future."
The award is named after Dr. Walker, President emeritus of the United States Olympic Committee who served as president through the 1996 Atlanta Summer Games. Dr. Walker is a graduate of Benedict College (S.C.) and a former president of the NAIA.