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Belmont Basketball 2018-19 Media Guide

Belmont Basketball has earned postseason tournament invitations 12 of the past 13 years, including trips to the NCAA Tournament in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2015.

Brian Collins led Belmont to the 2006 NCAA Tournament vs. UCLA

Belmont took on storied UCLA in the 2006 NCAA Tournament at Cox Arena in San Diego, Calif. Dubbed as the ‘Battle of the Bruins,’ Belmont led much of the first half before falling to the eventual National-Runner Up.

Legendary Georgetown head coach John Thompson personally congratulated Belmont's Andrew Preston following the 2007 NCAA Tournament game vs. the Final Four-bound Hoyas

Belmont faced Big East Champion Georgetown in the 2007 NCAA Tournament at LJVM Coliseum in Winston-Salem, N.C. The Bruins held their own against future NBA first-round picks Jeff Green and Roy Hibbert.

Alex Renfroe was Chevrolet Player of the Game in the 2008 NCAA Tournament vs. Duke

Belmont took on three-time National Champion Duke in the 2008 NCAA Tournament at Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. With Alex Renfroe and Andy Wicke rising to the occasion on college basketball’s grandest stage, the Bruins cemented their place in March Madness lore. Though Gerald Henderson’s driving layin allowed the Blue Devils to escape with a 71-70 victory, Belmont received universal praise for its spirited play and sportsmanship.

2011 Belmont Basketball is arguably the greatest team in program history. It led the nation in scoring margin, and outscored Atlantic Sun opponents by 21 points per game

In 2011, Belmont received a No. 13 seed and faced perennial Big Ten stalwart Wisconsin at the McKale Center in Tucson, Ariz. The Bruins led much of the first half and limited the Badgers to only 10 points in the paint.

Drew Hanlen sinks a 3-pointer vs. Georgetown in the 2012 NCAA Tournament

In 2012, the 14th-seeded Bruins took on third-seeded Georgetown in Columbus, Ohio - a rematch of their 2007 NCAA Tournament contest. Despite 17 points from Blake Jenkins, Belmont was unable to break through against the Hoyas.

Blake Jenkins soared vs. Arizona in the 2013 NCAA Tournament

In 2013, Belmont took its No. 24 RPI to March Madness, earning a program-best No. 11 seed against 1997 NCAA Champion Arizona. Belmont got a combined 43 points from all-OVC guards Ian Clark and Kerron Johnson.

Craig Bradshaw delivered a virtuoso performance in the 2015 NCAA Tournament vs. Virginia; his 25 points were the most scored by a player vs. the Cavaliers in nearly two years

In 2015, the Bruins faced two-time defending Atlantic Coast Conference champion Virginia in Charlotte, N.C. The Cavaliers boasted the top defensive team in the country, but the Bruins were unfazed and matched Virginia shot for shot. In fact, Belmont led much of the first half, and behind an electrifying, game-high 25 points from Craig Bradshaw, the Bruins were within two points with under four minutes remaining. But the Cavaliers closed well to keep Belmont from becoming the eighth 15 seed to win in the NCAA Tournament.

Reece Chamberlain and the Bruins reached the Elite 8 of the 2014 Postseason NIT

In 2014, following a fifth consecutive conference championship, Belmont earned entry into the Postseason NIT. The Bruins defeated Horizon League champion Green Bay and Northeast Conference champion Robert Morris to advance to the NIT Quarterfinal Round. Belmont would get 21 points, nine rebounds and five assists from Craig Bradshaw in a stirring performance at ACC mainstay Clemson.

In 2016, following another OVC championship, Belmont faced Georgia of the SEC in the Postseason NIT. Despite sinking 14 3-pointers and sporting five double-figure scorers, the Bruins dropped a hard-fought 93-84 decision on ESPN2.

Two-time All-American Evan Bradds led Belmont past Georgia in the 2017 Postseason NIT

Belmont would gain sweet revenge last season, defeating Georgia, 78-69, at Stegeman Coliseum in the 2017 Postseason NIT. Dylan Windler led Belmont with 21 points and nine rebounds. The Bruins then faced Georgia Tech on ESPN.

The Bruins also played at Austin Peay in the 2004 Postseason NIT.

Belmont played in the 2009 CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament, burying a season-high 17 three-point field goals in winning at Missouri Valley Conference stalwart Evansville.

Belmont Basketball has won 16 conference championships (nine regular season, seven tournament) since 2006. Nationally, only Gonzaga and Kansas have won more conference championships over that span.

Belmont has won four regular season titles and two conference tournament titles since joining the Ohio Valley Conference in 2013. That includes the 2015 OVC Championship, which the Bruins’ claimed in heart-stopping fashion on Taylor Barnette’s game-winning three-pointer with 3.2 seconds remaining.

In 2014, Belmont joined an exclusive fraternity of programs to win five straight regular season conference championships. Since the Bruins became an NCAA Division I member institution in 1996-97, only Belmont, Butler, Cincinnati, Duke, Gonzaga, Harvard, Kansas, Nevada and Xavier have won five straight conference regular season championships.

The Bruins won the OVC regular season and – thanks to Kerron Johnson’s dramatic game-winning shot - tournament championships in their inaugural since in the Ohio Valley Conference in 2013.

Belmont defeated Jacksonville for the 2008 Atlantic Sun Championship

In 2008, Belmont Basketball became the first school in Atlantic Sun Conference history to win three consecutive conference tournament championships. In fact, the Bruins won all five Atlantic Sun Tournament championships away from home.

Justin Hare's 32-point performance vs. Lipscomb in the 2006 Atlantic Sun Championship led to one of the most indelible images in Bruin program history

Back in 2006, Justin Hare scored a career-high 32 points – including a game-tying three-point play in the final seconds of regulation – as Belmont defeated Lipscomb, 74-69 in overtime, to claim its first NCAA Tournament bid.

Belmont Basketball won Atlantic Sun Conference Regular Season Championships in 2006, 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2012.

During its tradition-rich NAIA era, Belmont Basketball won numerous conference and district championships. Coach Byrd led the Bruins to back-to-back NAIA Final Fours in 1995 and 1996. The 1995 Bruins won 28 straight games were ranked No. 1 in the nation.

With victory in the 2017 2K Classic Benefiting Wounded Warrior Project, Belmont has won an MTE tournament five times since 2010-11; (2017 2K Classic, 2015 Legends Classic, 2013 Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame Tipoff, 2011 Maui Invitational, 2010 NIT Season Tip-Off).

Belmont has won 285 games since 2007 – the most among all NCAA Division I programs from the state of Tennessee, including Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Memphis.

Under Coach’s Byrd leadership, Belmont Basketball has been marked by far-reaching success and unparalleled consistency.

Senior Kevin McClain has been a central figure in Belmont's success

Belmont is one of only nine NCAA Division I programs to win 19 or more games 13 consecutive seasons (BYU, Duke, Gonzaga, Kansas, Louisville, Michigan State, North Carolina, San Diego State).

Belmont is one of only six NCAA Division I programs outside the Power 5 to post Top 100 RPIs eight consecutive seasons (BYU, Gonzaga, Saint Mary's (CA), San Diego State, Wichita State).

Belmont has 251 conference victories (includes tournament) since 2003 - tied with Kansas for the most nationally over that span.

Belmont has earned national Top 25 poll votes seven of the last eight seasons.

Amanze Egekeze ('18) scored 1,350 career points as a part of three consecutive conference championship teams

Belmont is one of the 25 winningest programs in college basketball this decade.

Basketball Times ranked Belmont as the No. 7 college basketball program in America in its 2017 ‘Top Programs’ rankings. Teams were ranked based on their 10-year winning percentages, number of former players in the NBA, team graduation rates, academic peer assessment scores, head coach rankings and program cleanliness.

Bleacher Report/Turner Broadcasting ranked Belmont as ‘One of the Top 7 Mid-Majors Programs’ of the last 20 years. Forbes Magazine also tabbed Belmont as the No. 6 men’s basketball program ‘For the Money’ in all of NCAA Division I.

And when it comes to playing at their best come championship time, few programs can duplicate the Bruins’ track record of winning during the most important time of the year. Over the last decade, Belmont has won nearly 80 percent of its games once the calendar turns to February.

Nick Hopkins was a big-game player for Belmont in 2017-18

One of the Bruins’ greatest sources of pride is a trademark of the top college basketball programs - consistent success away from home.

Belmont’s remarkable 153 road/neutral victories since 2006 ranks seventh nationally. Belmont is 193-42 (.821) over the last eight seasons in games outside the power five conferences.

Kerron Johnson helped take the Bruin program to new heights, including a No. 24 final RPI in 2013

Few players in the history of Belmont Basketball have made a greater impact than Ian Clark. And even fewer have paved a more unique path to the Larry O'Brien trophy and an NBA Championship than the former Bruin All-American.

Coach Byrd chats with Ian Clark following an offseason workout in the Curb Event Center

In 2013, after leading Belmont to a third consecutive NCAA Tournament and earning All-Tournament Team honors at the prestigious Portsmouth Invitational pre-draft event, Clark was selected to play for the defending NBA Champion Miami Heat in the Orlando Summer League.

Clark shined for the Heat, leading the team in scoring, 3-point field goal percentage, steals and minutes played in earning All-Orlando Summer League honors.

From there, Clark immediately headed west to join the Golden State Warriors for Vegas Summer League. His steady, consistent, unselfish play was rewarded in the championship game, as Clark scored a record 33 points on seven 3-point field goals in earning fame Most Valuable Players honors as Golden State defeated Phoenix.

2013 NBA Summer League Championship Game Most Valuable Player

National media coverage soon followed, with prominent features on NBA.com, SI.com, YahooSports.com, and The Jim Rome Show, among others.

Two days later, fielding a number of NBA offers, Clark signed a multi-year contract with the Utah Jazz, returning to Salt Lake City – site of his final collegiate game in the 2013 NCAA Tournament.

Clark played two seasons with the Utah Jazz

After shooting 36 percent from three-point distance in 46 game appearances with the Jazz over two seasons, Clark finished the 2014-15 campaign with the Denver Nuggets.

With the team from the Mile High City, the Memphis native again stole the show during NBA Summer League, averaging 13.4 points per game while showcasing the same focus and attention to detail that earned him Defensive All-America honors as a Bruin. Clark, who also sank a dramatic game-winning shot to beat the Heat, was named the best shooter of NBA Summer League by ESPN.com.

Days later, Clark agreed in principle to join the World Champion Golden State Warriors, reuniting with former teammates Brandon Rush and Draymond Green.

Clark eludes LeBron James on a drive

Golden State then enjoyed the greatest regular season in NBA history, posting a league-record 73 wins en route to a berth in the 2016 NBA Finals.

In the regular season, Clark appeared in 77 games, averaging 6.8 points, 1.6 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game. He shot 49 percent from the field and 37 percent from 3-point distance. Clark became an instant fan favorite, earning the respect of MVPs Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry

Clark played in consecutive NBA Finals in 2016 and 2017

He scored a career-high 36 points at San Antonio March 11.

Clark ranked fifth among all NBA shooting guards in field goal percentage, 15th in true shooting percentage (.575) and averaged 22.2 points per 48 minutes.

Clark averaged 6.8 points per game on 51 percent shooting in the NBA playoffs, including 10 points in Game 2 of the NBA Finals.

He became the first OVC player since 1971 to win an NBA title.

NBA Champion Ian Clark

Clark is in his sixth NBA season, and second with the New Orleans Pelicans. The Memphis, Tennessee native became an integral member of NOLA last season, recording career-highs in points (7.4), assists (1.5) and minutes played (19.7) per game. He averaged 11.0 points per game on 49 percent shooting after the NBA All-Star break.

As part of New Orleans' playoff push, Clark buried a decisive 3-pointer in Game 1 of the Pelicans' opening round sweep of Portland, and scored a playoff career-high 18 points vs. Golden State in the NBA Western Conference semifinals.

Clark is in his sixth NBA season, second with the New Orleans Pelicans

But Clark's NBA success story doesn't end there. In fact, he and several former Bruins have forged personal pathways to the association.

NBA Skills Coach/Consultant and CEO of Pure Sweat Basketball Drew Hanlen ('12) has built a reputation as one of the most coveted and respected player development voices in the game. What began with NBA All-Stars David Lee and Bradley Beal has blossomed into training regimens for a bevy of household names, including Joel Embiid, Jayson Tatum and Zach LaVine.

Former Belmont all-conference guard Drew Hanlen ('12) with NBA clients Joel Embiid and Mo Bamba
Adam Barnes has worked his way up the Cavaliers' organization

Adam Barnes ('13) won four consecutive conference championships with Clark and Hanlen. And after pursuing a career in accounting, seized an opportunity as an operations assistant with the Cleveland Cavaliers. After experiencing the Cavs' 2016 NBA Championship, Barnes has since been elevated to scout.

One of the greatest players in program history, Evan Bradds ('17) now serves as a video coordinator for the Boston Celtics

Two-time All-American Evan Bradds ('17) seemed destined for a lengthy professional career. But after sustained an injury during a pre-draft workout with the Indiana Pacers, a different calling took hold: coaching. Bradds was hired as an assistant coach for the Maine Red Claws, the Boston Celtics' NBA-G League affiliate. Added to the Celtics' 2018 playoff staff, Bradds is now a full-time video assistant for the 17-time NBA Champions.

T.J. Saint served as a graduate assistant on Coach Byrd's staff before spending four seasons with the Detroit Pistons

A handwritten letter to Coach Byrd initiated quite the journey for T.J. Saint. The former walk-on at Mercer simply dreamed of getting into coaching. Two seasons as a student assistant led to three more at Butler University, before ultimately joining the staff of the Detroit Pistons. Saint is currently the director of basketball strategy at the University of Georgia.

Joe Gaines was drafted by the Portland Trail Blazers in 1972

Belmont's NBA story would be incomplete without mention of Joe Gaines. The dynamic forward, whose program rebounding records may never be broken, was drafted by the Portland Trail Blazers in the 1972 NBA Draft. Gaines would go on to play three seasons for the Scranton Apollos of the Eastern Basketball Association (EBA).

A number of former Belmont standouts have enjoyed successful professional playing careers.

Alex Renfroe ('09) has seen the world during his career

Alex Renfroe ('09) enters his ninth professional season after reaching an agreement with ICL Baxi Manresa of Liga Endesa in Spain. Renfroe played last season for Galatasaray Odeabank Istanbul of the Turkish Basketball Super League (BSL), averaging 9.8 points and 5.1 assists per game. He also spent time in Italy (Scandone) and Puerto Rico (Ponce) while on transfer. Renfroe, 32, previously played for BroseBaskets and FC Bayern Munich in Germany, Enisey Krasnoyarsk in Russia, FC Barcelona Lassa, Laboral Kutxa Vitotia and Valladolid in Spain, Enel Brindisi in Italy, KK Zagreb in Croatia and VEF Riga in Latvia.

The Hermitage, Tennessee native earned Associated Press All-America, NABC and Basketball Times All-District and Atlantic Sun Conference Player of the Year honors in 2009, and was part of the Alba Berlin team that captured a stunning victory over the 2014 NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs in an exhibition game.

In 2009, Renfroe led the Bruins in scoring (16.2), rebounding (7.2), assists (5.1), blocked shots (0.5) and field goal percentage (.548) - believed to be the first college basketball player since Tim Duncan in 1997 to lead his team in all five categories.

Renfroe was also player of the game in Belmont's near-upset of second-seeded Duke in the 2008 NCAA Tournament.

ESPN.com also profiled the 6-2 guard and his unique path to the Bosnia & Herzegovina national team.

Kerron Johnson ('13) is starring in Italy

Kerron Johnson ('13) has signed a professional contract with Flexx Pistoia in Serie A of the Italian Professional League. He is among league leaders in scoring and steals in the first month of the season.

Last season in his second stint with MHP Riesen Ludwgsburg, Johnson averaged 9.3 points, 4.3 assists, and 1.1 steals per game as the yellow and grey reached the German BBL playoff semifinals.

The Huntsville, Alabama native also averaged 10 points and four assists per game in 26 games of Basketball Champions League - FIBA's top European-wide competition for professional clubs - as MHP reached the Final Four, before falling to AS Monaco.

Johnson was an All-Star in Germany

In 2016-17, Johnson played for MKS Dabrowa Gornicza of Polska Liga Koszykowki (PLK) in Poland, ranking among the top perimeter players in the league. He averaged 14.2 points, 4.2 assists and 1.6 steals per game.

Three years ago, Johnson averaged 14.2 points, 2.7 rebounds, 3.8 assists, and 1.1 steals per game for MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg en route to German BBL All-Star and All-German Bundesliga honors.

Johnson began his professional career with New Zealand Breakers of the NBL and also spent time with SPO Rouen of the French Professional League.

Nick Smith ('17) recently transitioned to the Czech Republic

Nick Smith ('17) is playing for BK Nova Hut Ostrava in the Czech Republic. The sharpshooting forward averaged 25.9 points per game and made 90 3-pointers for TV Langen in Germany last season.

Amanze Egekeze ('18) is off to a fast start in Japan

Amanze Egekeze ('18) is making an instant impact for Yokohama B-Corsairs in Japan. The Lake in the Hills, Illinois native is averaging nearly 18 points per game to open the season.

Austin Luke ('18) runs the offense in Latvia

Austin Luke ('18) currently plays for VEF Riga in Latvia; the same club team that Renfroe began his professional career. The Rowlett, Texas native, who ranks second all-time in OVC history is assists (681), is among league leaders in assists.

One of the most successful and respected coaches in the country, Rick Byrd has been a model of consistency in leading Belmont's transition from an NAIA institution to a perennial headliner and championship program in NCAA Division I.

I think they can play against anybody...the maturity of their team is unbelievable - Coach K
Belmont claims the second of six OVC Championships

With 778 career victories, Belmont head coach Rick Byrd ranks fifth among all active NCAA Division I head coaches in career wins. He is also first among all active non-BCS head coaches in career wins.

Byrd ranks 15th all-time in NCAA Division I in career victories, passing coaching legends John Wooden, Phog Allen and Henry Iba in recent years.

With 686 career victories at Belmont, Coach Byrd is one of only four active NCAA Division I head coaches with 600 or more career wins at their current school (Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, Syracuse's Jim Boeheim and Oakland’s Greg Kampe are the other three). Byrd is the fourth-longest tenured head coach in NCAA Division I college basketball.

Under Rick Byrd, Belmont is annually among the highest-scoring and most-efficient offenses in the nation

Moreover, Byrd has accounted for nearly 70 percent of the total victories in program history – ranking first in America when placed by percentage of schools’ all-time wins.

Coach Byrd and his staff have been profiled in respected national media outlets such as ESPN, Yahoo Sports, Sports Illustrated, USA Today, The Athletic, CBS Sports, Fox Sports, NBC Sports, Sporting News, NPR, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, Blue Ribbon, Athlon, Bleacher Report, SB Nation, and Lindy’s.

Coach Byrd received the 2012 NCAA Bob Frederick Award

In 2012, Rick Byrd received the NCAA Bob Frederick Award for exhibiting a lifelong commitment to sportsmanship and ethical conduct, leading by example, and promoting positive fan involvement in and out of competition.

Byrd is a 14-time District or Conference coach of the year.

Rick Byrd's career conference winning percentage (.794) ranks second among all active NCAA Division I head coaches, behind only Mark Few of Gonzaga.

Universally respected – simply listen to Coach K or Tony Bennett – Coach Byrd is known for his passion, loyalty and unshakable commitment to his players.

Byrd visits with his staff before the OVC Championship game

Annually ranked among the top coaches in America - in a recent poll of his coaching peers conducted by ESPN.com - Byrd was ranked as the No. 9 tactician in the nation, while a similar poll on CBSSports.com placed Byrd among the nation’s top offensive minds.

Coach Byrd talks strategy with senior Kevin McClain

Prior to the season, Byrd was named as the No. 7 most-influential sports figure in middle Tennessee by The Tennessean.

I’ve got a ton of respect for Coach Byrd. I just think he’s as good of a coach as there is - Shaka Smart

Byrd was chairman of the NCAA Basketball Rules Committee from 2013-15, and formerly served as an ESPN/USA Today Top 25 Coaches’ Poll voter.

Byrd delights in Ian Clark becoming Belmont's NCAA Division I era career scoring leader in a 2013 victory over Ohio

28 former players, assistant coaches, graduate assistants, or managers are currently coaching basketball.

Byrd's signature sweater vest is a gameday tradition

Beyond Byrd, Belmont features an experienced and proven coaching staff committed to player development - each accomplished college players in their own right.

During Associate Head Coach Brian Ayers' 20 seasons, Belmont has averaged 21 wins per season, including 25 wins per season over the last eight campaigns.

Associate Head Coach Brian Ayers played for legendary Don Meyer

Ayers specializes in post-play instruction - offensive moves, footwork, positioning, and team defense. His instruction is one of the main reasons why Belmont is annually among the nation's leaders in field goal percentage shooting and offensive efficiency. In fact, Belmont has led the nation in two-point field goal percentage five of the last six seasons, and has ranked Top 30 in that category 10 consecutive seasons.

Among the top post coaches in America, Ayers has worked with two of the NCAA's all-time leaders in field goal percentage - Evan Bradds ('17) and Adam Mark ('04).

Ayers played his college basketball at Lipscomb University. He served as team captain his junior and senior years and earned NAIA Academic All-America honors. During Ayers' four year career, the Bisons compiled a record of 141-18 and advanced to one NAIA Final Four, two Elite Eights, and one Sweet Sixteen.

James Strong ranks among career leaders in steals at Vanderbilt

Upon arrival, James Strong’s candor and no nonsense approach resonated with Belmont players, and evidence of his work with Bruin backcourt players, in particular, is undeniable.

In short order, Strong has worked with five of the most productive and decorated players in program history: Ian Clark, Kerron Johnson, J.J. Mann, Craig Bradshaw and Austin Luke. In 2013, Clark and Johnson ranked among the top backcourts in America, leading the Bruins to a No. 24 final RPI and program-best No. 11 NCAA Tournament seed.

Strong is no stranger to the middle Tennessee area, having spent a decade as a student-athlete and coach at Vanderbilt University. Strong was a four-year letterwinner for the Commodores on the hardwood (1997-2000), leading Vanderbilt to three postseason appearances.

Tyler Holloway set numerous records at Murray State

One of the top young coaches in college basketball, Tyler Holloway returns in 2018-19 for his 10th season with Belmont Basketball, first as assistant coach.

During Holloway's time with the Bruins, Belmont has won 217 games – over 24 per season – 11 conference championships (seven regular season, four tournament), earned four NCAA Tournament appearances (2011, 2012, 2013, 2015), garnered national Top 25 poll votes seven out of eight seasons, recorded eight consecutive Top 100 RPI rankings, and posted the nation's longest active home court and road win streaks.

Holloway was a four-year letterwinner at Murray State ('09), where he scored 1,083 career points and made 210 career 3-point field goals.

Academic excellence is one of the cornerstones of Belmont Basketball. The Bruin program possesses an unrivaled track record of academic achievement, standing among the elite programs in all of college basketball, and the NCAA.

Belmont University men's basketball boasts an NCAA-leading 16 CoSIDA Academic All-America selections since 2001 - including senior Dylan Windler - and is one of only three NCAA Division I programs to make the NCAA Academic Progress Rate (APR) Honor Roll every year of existence.

If Duke is the Harvard of North Carolina, Belmont is the Princeton of Tennessee - Charlotte Observer
Austin Luke was named to the NABC Honors Court three times

Belmont annually ranks among NCAA Division I leaders on the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Honors Court, with a remarkable 41 Bruins receiving honors since 2011. To qualify, student-athletes must academically be a junior or senior and post a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.2 or higher at the conclusion of the academic year,

Belmont Basketball has posted a team GPA of 3.0 or higher 18 consecutive years.

Mick Hedgepeth (left) was 2011 NACDA Scholar-Athlete of the Year

Division I-AAA Athletics Directors Association's mission is to enhance initiatives common to its Division I-AAA membership (the Division I institutions that do not sponsor football), in particular, aspects related to their flagship basketball programs. Belmont has become a fixture on the Division I-AAA Athletics Directors Association (DI-AAA ADA) annual Scholar-Athlete Team, with 13 selections and five National Scholar-Athletes of the Year.

During its 11-year stay in the Atlantic Sun Conference, a Belmont Basketball player earned the league's Male Student-Athlete of the Year award seven times.

Entering 2018, Belmont Basketball earned a perfect 1000 score in the NCAA Academic Progress Rate (APR) eight consecutive years.

Six of the top seven scorers of Belmont's NCAA Division I era have earned Academic All-America honors.

Justin Hare was a two-time Academic All-America selection

Service is at the heart of Belmont University’s mission statement, and in keeping with that tradition, two decades ago the Bruin athletic program initiated an annual sports evangelism mission trip.

The Bruins work in the fields with locals from Nakuru, Kenya

Learn more: The Belmont Mission Trip Website

In May 2018, Dylan Windler, Kevin McClain and coach Tyler Holloway joined fellow student-athletes and staff members on a mission trip to Nakuru, Kenya. The Bruins reunited with ministry partner, Streets of Hope, which provides former street boys with a home, food, education, Christ-centered spiritual guidance, medical care, and hope.

Seeing God's light shine halfway across the world is something beautiful that not a lot of people get the chance to witness first hand - Dylan Windler
Drew Hanlen bonds with children in Cape Town, South Africa on a Belmont mission trip

Belmont groups have also traveled to the Naples, Italy, the Republic of Malta, Kiev, Ukraine, Porta la Cruz, Venezuela, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and Cape Town, South Africa in recent years.

Belmont Basketball proudly partners with Wounded Warrior Project

The Bruins have also partnered with Wounded Warrior Project (@wwpinc) to honor service members and their families during home games as part of the team’s Honorary Military Captain program.

From its grand opening, the Curb Event Center has gained a national reputation as being one of the finest facilities and best homecourt advantages in college basketball.

The Belmont student section makes its presence felt at home games

Since the inaugural 2003-04 season, Belmont is 172-27 (.864) at the CEC – those 172 wins representing the most home court wins in the Atlantic Sun Conference and Ohio Valley Conference over that span. Moreover, the Bruins are an astounding 122-14 (.897) in league games at the Curb Event Center.

From the day it joined the OVC, Belmont went 1,730 days before losing a conference home game, and is 47-2 overall in OVC home games.

A Curb Event Center record crowd witnessed Belmont's 69-60 victory over Vanderbilt in the 2017-18 home opener

Belmont is 100-8 (.926) at home since 2001, the fourth-best home court winning percentage in the nation over that span. Only Kentucky, Kansas, and Arizona have better winning percentages.

Belmont held the nation’s longest home court win streak (23) during the 2013-14 season and nation’s longest conference home court win streak (35) during the 2015-16 season.

Kevin McClain celebrates with the Belmont student section

With the Bruins’ formula of uncompromising success, high-scoring action, and vigorous, loyal support from ‘The M.O.B.’ – Belmont’s boisterous student section – attendance has increased 102 percent since 2005. That is the greatest percentage increase in attendance among all Nashville area sports teams – college and professional.

Dylan Windler thanks Belmont fans after a home victory

Few programs outside the Power 5 Conferences have amassed a resume of signature victories comparable to Belmont.

November 23, 1998 - In one of the biggest victories in the history of Striplin Gymnasium, Belmont outlasted Butler, 60-58. Dougie Webb’s short jumper with two seconds remaining proved to be the game-winner as the Bruins rallied from a 15-point first half deficit. Freshman Wes Burtner scored a team-high 13 points. The Bulldogs were coaches by current Butler athletic director Barry Collier.

Belmont defeated nationally-ranked Missouri - The Tigers were fresh off an Elite 8 appearance and featured five future NBA players

December 30, 2003 - Belmont Basketball scored the biggest victory in program history to date, knocking off perennial Big 12 Conference power and 22nd-ranked Missouri, 71-67, at the Hearnes Center. Steve Drabyn led four Bruins in double figures with 16 points. The Bruins hit 13 3-point field goals and used a 17-3 run early in the second half to seize control. It was the Bruins’ first victory over a Top-25 opponent.

Henry Harris helped Belmont's wire-to-wire win at Cincinnati

November 9, 2007 -Belmont Basketball opened its historic 2007-08 campaign with a convincing 86-75 victory at then-Big East Conference stalwart Cincinnati. With NBA legend and former Cincinnati All-American Oscar Robertson on hand, the Bruins showcased their outside shooting prowess and unselfish, uptempo play in controlling the Bearcats throughout. Justin Hare scored a game-high 23 points, while eventual All-American Alex Renfroe would score 13 points off the bench in his collegiate debut.

Matthew Dotson was one of four double figure scorers as Belmont won at Alabama

November 19, 2007 - A week and a half after its win at Cincinnati, Belmont Basketball recorded another monumental victory over major conference opposition, defeating ultra-talented Alabama of the Southeastern Conference, 85-83, at Coleman Coliseum in Tuscaloosa. The Bruins shot 53 percent in the first half in racing out to a 50-44 halftime lead. Justin Hare’s pullup jumpshot with 2.2 seconds remaining proved to be the game-winner. Belmont became just the second mid-major program to win at Alabama since 1996.

Kerron Johnson controlled the game as Belmont posted a convincing victory at Stanford

November 18, 2012 - Belmont Basketball confidently walked into Maples Pavilion and defeated Pac-12 mainstay Stanford, 70-62. The Bruins held the Cardinal to 31 percent shooting and forced 17 turnovers in the virtual wire-to-wire win. After building a 14-point lead early in the second half, Belmont rode the hot hands of Ian Clark and Kerron Johnson down the stretch. Stanford entered the game as the defending NIT Champions, and holders of the nation’s longest active home court win streak.

J.J. Mann scored 28 points at North Carolina, including the game-winning 3-pointer with 13 seconds left

November 17, 2013 - Senior J.J. Mann hit three consecutive 3-pointers in the final 1:02 of regulation as the Bruins defeated seven-time National Champion North Carolina 83-80, at the Dean E. Smith Center in Chapel Hill, N.C. Behind the shooting of Mann and fellow senior Drew Windler, Belmont led much of the way – including by 11 with 15 minutes remaining. Belmont would snap the No. 11 Tar Heels’ 66-game home court win streak against non-conference opponents dating back to 2005.

Craig Bradshaw outdueled future NBA lottery pick Henry Ellenson as Belmont defeated Marquette in 2015

November 13, 2015 - Belmont buried 12 3-pointers and led most of the way in defeating storied Marquette of the Big East Conference. Craig Bradshaw scored 12 points in the opening seven minutes, including a flurry of electrifying highlights. Evan Bradds scored a game-high 24 points on 10-for-13 shooting, but his charging foul drawn on freshman All-American Henry Ellenson with 14 seconds remaining proved to be the play of the game. Austin Luke, making his first career start at point guard, handed out nine assists on only one turnover and buried three free throws down the stretch to secure the victory.

Dylan Windler showcased his versatility in Belmont's victory at Georgia in the 2017 Postseason NIT

March 15, 2017 - Behind 21 points and nine rebounds from Dylan Windler, Belmont defeated Georgia, 78-69, in the first round of the 2017 Postseason NIT. It was redemption for Belmont for a 93-84 loss at Georgia nearly one year to the day in the 2016 Postseason NIT. The Bruins went 14-for-31 from 3-point distance leading virtually wire-to-wire. Belmont limited the Bulldogs to 42 percent shooting and were plus-six on the backboards.

Amanze Egekeze scored 22 points as Belmont defeated Vanderbilt for its second consecutive win over the SEC

November 13, 2017 - Belmont rode the strong play of Dylan Windler and Amanze Egekeze to post a 69-60 victory over Vanderbilt in 2017. An arena-record crowd of 5,266 witnessed Belmont's fourth victory over an SEC opponent, and second straight. Belmont held the Commodores to 35 percent shooting and forced 15 turnovers.

There may be bigger on-campus facilities, but there is not a better place to play and train in America than Belmont University’s Curb Event Center.

The 52 million dollar, 90 thousand square foot masterpiece is a state-of-the-art facility, capable of hosting everything from Bruin Athletics to an historic Presidential Debate and the Davis Cup. The CEC is maintained and operated by fully digital, computerized systems and represents the highest quality of production capabilities. The main arena floor expands to three full regulation courts – ideal for practices, individual training sessions, and summer camps.

Beaman Student Life Center practice facility

The adjacent Beaman Student Life Center houses the general campus fitness center, racquetball courts, a two-story rock-climbing wall and meeting rooms. It also houses the Belmont Rec Gym, a pristine and intimate practice setting for the Bruins all year long.

The Belmont Athletic Training staff is primarily responsible for the delivery of quality healthcare to all student athletes participating in intercollegiate athletic programs at Belmont University. This care will be provided by the guidelines of the NATA through prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation of injuries and illnesses sustained during any practice or game.

The Belmont Athletic Training department is housed in an 1860 square foot space within the Curb Event Center. The facility is fully-equipped with a hydroroom, taping area, treatment and rehabilitation area, as well as physician’s office. Belmont’s 17 varsity sports are staffed by seven National Athletic Training Association certified athletic trainers.

Founded by renowned surgeon and NFL physician Dr. Burton Elrod, Elite Sports Medicine & Orthopedics will oversee all preventative care, athletic training, and rehabilitation services for Belmont University Athletics and its student-athletes.

Kim is a professional through and through, and her dedication and genuine care for our student-athletes cannot be overstated. Our players could not be in better hands. To Kim and the entire Elite Sports Medicine staff, nothing is more important than the care and welfare of our players. - Coach Byrd
Head Athletic Trainer Kim Anderson
Belmont Strength & Conditioning Center

The 1600 square foot Belmont Weight Room also gives the Bruins a significant edge. Under the leadership of newly named strength and conditioning head coach Lee Rowland, Belmont student-athletes make use of three power stations with customized platforms, customized dumbbells, a wide variety of free weights and machines and top-of-the-line speed, agility and plyometric equipment.

Belmont Basketball Locker Room

The Bruin locker room areas are first-class; featuring the same fine amenities located throughout the rest of the facility and in many other popular sports entertainment arenas. All the lockers are spacious and made from the finest cherry. In the front of the locker room is a giant cherry cabinet that holds a big screen television and DVR. The unit is cable ready, giving the team an outstanding facility to breakdown film and scout opponents. Most recently, the Belmont Basketball locker room and hallway areas have been personalized with visual displays, encapsulating many of the great moments in Belmont Basketball history.

NBA Champion Ian Clark views his honor display in the new Belmont Basketball locker room hallway

New in 2017-18, the Curb Event Center added two state-of-the-art 14’ x 28’ video projection screens courtesy industry leader, OES. A gamechanger for the Bruin fan experience, the OES boards will bring the excitement on the court and in the stands to life. #itsBRUINtime

Student support for Belmont Basketball is second to none

From relative unknown to media darling, Belmont Basketball burst on the scene in 2006 and has remained a fixture ever since.

Belmont is used to winning, they’re used to championships, they’re used to postseason play. The have a bunch of guys who share the ball and that’s really hard to play against. - Jay Bilas
J.J. Mann with Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Dick Vitale at the 2013 Final Four in Atlanta

Aside from traditional local print, radio and television coverage, the Bruins have gained universal acclaim on and off the court - profiled on national television and radio, as well as featured in renowned magazines, newspapers, online publications, digital platforms and social media.

Belmont has secured a program-record 93 televised games over the past six seasons, becoming a fixture in digital media and in national polls. Aside from its unparalleled exposure in seven NCAA Tournament appearances since 2006 – including three ‘Live Look-Ins’ in the last seven years on the CBS Selection Show - Belmont is front of mind when college basketball experts look for perspective and comparative analysis. In fact, the Bruin program has received prominent national features from ESPN, USA Today, The Athletic, CBS Sports, Yahoo Sports and NPR, among others.

Belmont Basketball has supplied some of the most exciting moments of my broadcasting career - Rich Hollenberg, ESPN
ESPN college basketball broadcasters Adrian Branch (left) and Rich Hollenberg have called numerous Belmont games

CBSSports.com was granted an all-access, behind-the-scenes look at Belmont Basketball during the 2013 NCAA Tournament, and NBA Champion and current New Orleans Pelicans guard Ian Clark became a national sensation with his sterling play in the 2013 NBA Summer League.

Kerron Johnson and Ian Clark address NCAA Tournament media

And Belmont’s award-winning broadcasts, now on ESPN family of networks, and athletic website have given Bruin fans around the globe a front row seat.

Belmont is an unbelievable team. Whoever plays them, God bless them - Ed Cooley
Austin Luke chats with Kayla Anderson from WKRN-TV

For the 10th consecutive year, Belmont University has achieved a Top 10 regional ranking in U.S. News & World Report’s 2019 edition of America’s Best Colleges.

Consistently recognized as a “Most Innovative” university, Belmont University draws more than 8,300 students who represent every state and more than 36 countries. The campus sits on 84 picturesque acres that are located just two miles from downtown Nashville, Tennessee, a dynamic and vibrant hub for government, healthcare, music, tourism and more. A private, four-year university, Belmont brings together the best of liberal arts and professional education in a Christian community of learning and service. The University’s purpose is to help students explore their passions and develop their talents to meet the world’s needs.

Belmont University is recognized as a global leader in innovation and educational opportunities for veterans

Our mission: Belmont University is a student-centered Christian community providing an academically challenging education that empowers men and women of diverse backgrounds to engage and transform the world with disciplined intelligence, compassion, courage and faith.

Belmont University ranks among the top business programs in America

Our vision: To be a leader among teaching universities, bringing together the best of liberal arts and professional education in a Christian community of learning and service.

Our values: As a student-centered Christian community with a rich Baptist heritage, Belmont University upholds the following core values as essential to the intellectual, spiritual, personal and corporate life: Integrity, Inquiry, Collaboration, Service and Humility.

Jon House (left) and Jonny Rice read with students

By any measure, Nashville is one of the most desirable places to live and most sought-after tourist destinations in the world.

‘The Music City’ can best be described as a pleasant mix of big city entertainment and "down home" friendliness. Nashville is located in the heart of our nation’s bustling core. Major cities such as St. Louis, Cincinnati, Memphis, Atlanta, and Birmingham can all be reached by car within 3-5 hours. And when going from work to play, Nashville has it all. The city offers a multitude of sporting events, recreational opportunities, restaurants, parks, and shopping malls.

The Nashville Predators have a longstanding partnership with Belmont, from internship programs to community outreach

The sports landscape in Nashville has changed dramatically over the past two decades with the introduction of major professional sports into the area. The Nashville Predators have introduced the thrills of the National Hockey League to Middle Tennessee. For the past two seasons, the Predators have been among the premier organizations in the NHL. Nashville became a national sensation in 2017 en route to the Western Conference Championship and berth in the Stanley Cup Finals, then backed it up winning the 2018 Presdidents' Trophy. The Bruins and the Predators have a strong partnership, from corporate engagement and internship programs to fan support and community relations. The Preds skate in one of Nashville’s downtown landmarks, Bridgestone Arena. The 18,000 seat Bridgestone Arena is a regular venue for touring groups and international artists, such as Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, and Coldplay.

The arrival of the NFL’s Tennessee Titans in 1998 brought instant credibility and excitement to the Mid-State. The Titans have won two division titles and one conference championship. Tennessee represented the AFC in Super Bowl XXXIV, playing the St. Louis Rams in one of the most memorable games in NFL history. With former Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Marcus Mariota at the controls, the future looks bright for the powder blue and white. Home for the Titans is Nissan Stadium, a 68,000 seat, state-of-the-art facility located on the east bank of the Cumberland River across from downtown. Aside from the NFL, Nissan Stadium also plays host to several major concerts and sporting events, including the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl - which now pits teams from the Atlantic Coast Conference and Southeastern Conferences each December. Nashville will host the 2019 NFL Draft. Moreover, international soccer loves Music City, with friendlies and United States National Team matches regularly on the docket. Nissan Stadium played host to the Gold Cup, with Nashville as a potential host city for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

Another constant among Nashville professional sports over the past two decades has been the Nashville Sounds. The Sounds, who have called Music City home since 1978, compete in the Pacific Coast League as the Class AAA affiliate of the Oakland Athletics. Through the years, players like Don Mattingly, Willie McGee, Chris Sabo, Magglio Ordonez, Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder, Yovani Gallardo, and Ricky Weeks have used Nashville to jumpstart MLB stardom. The 2006 PCL Champion Sounds play at Greer Stadium, located just minutes from downtown and the former longtime home of Belmont Baseball. In 2015, the Sounds opened First Tennessee Park.

Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl

Though the Nashville Superspeedway took a final bow in the summer of 2011, middle Tennessee remains a hotbed for NASCAR and IRL racing. Furthermore, Nashville has established itself as the ideal place to host a major sporting event. In the past decade alone, the city has hosted events such as the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, the U.S. Gymnastics Championships, the NCAA men's and women's basketball tournament, the SEC men's and women's basketball tournaments, numerous AAU national championships, international soccer matches, and the U.S. Swimming Championships. Recently, Nashville hosted the 2014 NCAA Women’s Final Four to universal praise and hosted preliminary rounds of the 2018 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. Moreover, Nashville annually hosts the popular St. Jude Rock N’ Roll Marathon, one of the nation’s top distance races. In addition, Nashville will play host to the 2018 U.S. Women’s Amateur golf championship.

In addition, Nashville has been awarded a Major League Soccer (MLS) expansion franchise, with play slated to begin in 2020.

Nashville and the surrounding area is made for outdoor recreation

Recreation is second-to-none in Nashville. Located in the picturesque hills of Middle Tennessee, Nashville boasts thousands of acres of public parks and offers a variety of outdoor activities like golf, boating, fishing, and hiking. Belmont has been named among top colleges in the nation for outdoor enthusiasts.

Keith Urban headlines Nashville's New Year's Eve celebration

Known as "Music City USA", Nashville is a city whose musical tastes range from country to rock to gospel. The city has several major concert venues and many big-name concert tours consider Nashville a “must-stop.” The city also serves as home to the Grand Ole Opry, the nation's longest running weekly radio show, and the Country Music Hall of Fame. Nashville has long been the mecca of the country music industry and is one of the top recording centers in the world. All of the music industry's major recording labels have a presence in Music Row, just north of the Belmont campus.

Famed Pancake Pantry is blocks from Belmont's campus

The nightlife in downtown Nashville offers something for everyone. Amidst the savory sights and sounds of historic Second Avenue sit some of the most venerable hot spots anywhere. From Wildhorse Saloon and Hard Rock Cafe to Famous Dave’s BBQ and The Pancake Pantry, it is not uncommon to bump into stars of stage and screen in Nashville.

Nashville's cultural environment earned the city its other nickname, the "Athens of the South." Nashville is well known as a major education center. The area's 10 accredited four-year and postgraduate institutions, including Belmont, are an integral part of the economic and cultural identity of the area. In addition to its educational institutions, the city offers numerous cultural and artistic venues. It is home to nine performing arts facilities, including the Tennessee Performing Arts Center. TPAC is the home to a wide range of events, including Broadway musicals and performances by the Nashville Ballet, Nashville Opera, and the Nashville Symphony. The city is also home to seven art galleries, including the Frist Center for the Visual Arts. The Frist Center, housed in the city's old main post office, presents a wide assortment of visual arts exhibitions. Nashville boasts 25 museums (including the Tennessee State Museum), numerous historic sites (like The Hermitage - home of President Andrew Jackson, an exact replica of the Parthenon, and the Natchez Trace Parkway), and an upgraded public library system that includes a new $50 million downtown library. Lastly, the newest addition to the downtown landscape, the magnificent Music City Center convention center opened Spring 2013 and further cements Nashville’s place as a desired international meeting place.

Cheekwood Estate & Gardens personifies the vibrancy of Nashville

Simply put, Nashville is the cornerstone of the Mid-South economy. It has become a leader in printing and publishing, music and entertainment, finance and insurance, healthcare management, automobile and other related industry, manufacturing and tourism. Internationally known companies like Amazon, AT&T, Bridgestone/Firestone, Caterpillar Financial, Dell, Dollar General, HCA, Louisiana Pacific, Nissan, State Farm, Tractor Supply Co., and UPS have significant operations in the city.

Sporting a mild climate with distinct changes in season - warm summers, colorful autumns, brisk winters, and beautiful springs - no two days are alike in Nashville.

The NCAA permits member institutions to play against international competition once every four years. Belmont has taken recent foreign tours to England & Ireland, Italy & Switzerland, and France.

Belmont and Swords of Thunder from Ireland pose for a picture following their 2015 game
These foreign tours provide opportunities of a lifetime for our players. This is an example of athletics really giving young men terrific educational experiences. We hope to improve our basketball team during the trips, but this is much more about experiencing another culture than it is about playing basketball - Coach Byrd
Belmont in front of St. Paul's Cathedral

Belmont and the 3-point line are a match made in heaven. The Bruins lead the country in made 3-point field goals since becoming an NCAA Division I member institution in 1997.

Belmont Basketball: Kings from Behind the Arc

Belmont has ranked in the Top 10 nationally in 3-point field goals made per game 15 of the last 20 years. The Bruins ranked fourth nationally last season. NCAA.com feature.

Amanze Egekeze made 222 career 3-pointers, sixth among all active NCAA Division I frontcourt players upon his graduation

Belmont has ranked in the Top 25 nationally in 3-point field goals made per game every year but one since becoming an NCAA Division-I member institution in 1996-97.

Belmont is one of the most efficient offenses in college basketball. They can shoot the 3 from all five positions and put so much pressure on defenses with their ability to drive and kick. They never let up - Sean Farnham, ESPN
Kevin McClain was part of Belmont's historic 3-point night vs. TSU

The Bruins made a program-record 20 3-point field goals in defeating Tennessee State, 84-59, Feb. 24, 2018.

Taylor Barnette (’17) and his 3-pointer to win the 2015 OVC Championship were named the ESPN/Capital One Impact Performance for the month of March. Barnette graduated as the OVC active leader in 3-point field goals made.

Nick Smith put on a shooting display, making a Curb Event Center record-tying 10 3-pointers vs. UT Martin

Nick Smith (’17) tied the Ohio Valley Conference and Belmont Curb Event Center single-game records for made 3-pointers with 10 vs. UT Martin (1/5/17). The Bruins made 18 3-pointers as a team.

Craig Bradshaw (’16) scored 1,698 career points – 747 of them from 3-point field goals.

Drew Windler made 81 3-pointers in 2013-14

Drew Windler (’14) led the OVC in 3-point field goal percentage (.460) in 2013-14.

Nothing sent the Belmont student section into a frenzy quite like a big shot from J.J. Mann, 2014 OVC Player of the Year

J.J. Mann (’14) made three consecutive 3-point field goals in the final 1:02 of regulation as Belmont defeated No. 11 North Carolina, 83-80, Nov. 17, 2013. Mann made 234 career three-point field goals.

Before earning an NBA Championship ring, Ian Clark qualified for the 2013 National 3-Point Championship in Atlanta

Ian Clark (’13) graduated as the program’s NCAA era career leader in made 3-point field goals (340). He also ranked third nationally in 3-point percentage in 2012-13, earned a spot in the Hampton Hotels National 3-Point Championships at the 2013 Final Four in Atlanta, and set the Great Alaska Shootout single-game record for made 3-point field goals with nine against Northeastern. As fate would have it, newly named Director of Athletics Scott Corley (’90) made 420 career 3-pointers.

Andy Wicke ranks among the best 3-point shooters in program history

Andy Wicke (’09) ranks second in Atlantic Sun Conference history with 303 3-point field goals. He also holds the Curb Event Center single-game 3-point field goal record with 10 (vs. Gardner-Webb, 2/15/07).

Four of the Top 15 3-point shooters in Atlantic Sun Conference history played at Belmont: Ian Clark (’13), Andy Wicke (’09), Josh Goodwin (’07), Steve Drabyn (’04)

Josh Goodwin (’07) holds the Atlantic Sun Conference single-game 3-point field goal record with 11 (at East Tennessee State, 12/1/05).

Justin Hare capped an electrifying first half for the Bruins in the 2007 Atlantic Sun Championship at ETSU

• The Bruins made 12 first-half 3-pointers en route to a 94-67 victory at East Tennessee State for the 2007 Atlantic Sun Conference Championship.

Using the three, Belmont has turned Nashville into Splashville

Credits:

AP, Getty Images/NBAE, Glenn Gregory, Don McPeak, Kim Cox, Betsy Beazley, Paul Chenoweth, Michael Krouskop, Ben McKeown, Frederick Breedon, Belmont Vision, Mike Holmes, Bruce Schwartzman, Columbia Daily Tribune, Brent Asay/Utah Jazz, J Wilkinson, Andrea Hallgren, Sam Simpkins, Grant Robinson, MaryKate Drews,

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