It's not often that a college basketball player averages a double-double in any season, never mind as a freshman. But at Connecticut College, 6-6 foot Zuri Pavlin New York City did just that in a record setting year on the hardwood.
Playing in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC), arguably the deepest and most talented Division III Conference in America, Pavlin averaged 10.5 points while topping the conference with 10.8 rebounds per game.
Pavlin hauled in 249 boards to set a single season school record, breaking the mark of 243 set by Connecticut College Athletic Hall of Famer Peter Dorfman '84 in 1982.
Tom Satran, Connecticut College's Head Coach, was impressed with Pavlin's play. "Zuri is off to a strong start to his career," said Coach Satran. He is long and really competes hard for every ball, doesn't take plays off in games or practice and really wants to be good. I am looking forward to watching him improve in the coming seasons."
Matt Vadas, the program's all-time leading scorer, had a chance to get to know Pavlin away from the court, and believes that the program has a bright future with the big man dominating down on the block.
"Playing with Zuri has been a blast," Vadas said. "We became very close this year, mainly because coach made us roommates on every road trip, but I was really proud to see him improve daily this season. It was always awesome to see him come out of nowhere and grab rebounds and so impressive for him to lead the NESCAC in rebounding as a freshman as well as get the single season record here at Conn. He has a super bright future, and I hope to see him take this team to the next level."
Pavlin has embraced the NESCAC philosophy, a reason he chose Connecticut College in his search that included competitive Divison I, II and III schools.
"Ultimately, I felt that Conn. was the best fit for me because of the challenging academics and the high quality basketball that I'd be playing in the NESCAC."
Crashing the boards has always been a priority for Pavlin and something he takes pride at being the best at.
"Rebounding has always been an extremely important thing to me because I was never a natural scorer," Pavlin said. "I've always wanted to do whatever it takes to give my team the best chance to win."
Pavlin hauled in 20 rebounds to lead the Camels past NESCAC rival Bates College February 1. It was another impressive performance that has Camel fans excited for the future.
"This season was more than anything I ever could have imagined," Pavlin said. "I'd really like to credit my teammates because it was a truly a pleasure playing with all of them. It was such a great experience playing in NESCAC and I'm so excited to play next year."