Dick Hannula Amateur Athlete of the Year-Detail

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Dick Hannula Amateur Athlete of the Year-Detail
Dick Hannula Amateur Athlete of the Year-Detail

Malachi Flynn
Bellarmine / San Diego State University
2020
Basketball

    Malachi Flynn
    By Kelsie Abram

    Before the NCAA basketball season came to an abrupt halt in early March due to the global virus pandemic, San Diego State senior Malachi Flynn was experiencing a national emergence.

    Flynn was on the final candidate lists for both the John R. Wooden Award, which honors the best performer within NCAA Division I, and the Basketball Hall of Fame's Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year. Flynn has also positioned himself well for the NBA Draft.

    Flynn averaged 17.6 points, 5 assists and 4.5 rebounds in 32 games. He shot 86% from the free throw line and 37% from 3-point range for the Aztecs, who finished 30-2 and ranked No. 6 in the nation in the final Associated Press poll for the incomplete 2019-20 season.

    Born and raised in Tacoma, Washington, Flynn first made waves in his basketball career while attending Bellarmine Preparatory School. There, Flynn graduated with three varsity letters, broke countless school records, and was honored with multiple awards, such as Washington State Player of the Year by the Associated Press, Tacoma News Tribune All-Area Player of the Year and Washington Interscholastic Basketball Coaches' Association 4A Player of the Year.

    His collegiate basketball journey started when Flynn signed with Washington State University, playing as a Cougar for both the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons. During this time, Flynn made a name for himself within the Pac-12, becoming only the third true freshman at WSU to start in every basketball game they played in. Flynn also ranked first in on the team in 3-point attempts, 3-pointers made and assists.

    During the 2018-19 basketball season, Flynn sat out in order to transfer to San Diego State University.

    Once the 2019-20 basketball season began, Flynn and his fellow Aztecs took the Mountain West Conference by storm, proving that their lack of preseason votes in either the Associated Press or the Coaches Poll would not define them. SDSU started 26-0 and won the regular season Mountain West Conference title.

    When speaking about SDSU's effectiveness with NCAA's March Madness 365 podcast, Flynn made it clear they are a cohesive team.

    "We have great chemistry as a group," Flynn said. "We all want to win. There's no individual egos ... everybody comes together and trusts each other."

    Unfortunately, due to the effects of COVID-19, Flynn's season came to an abrupt end when the NCAA announced that the March Madness basketball tournament would be cancelled. Before the announcement, Flynn and his SDSU teammates were on track for a remarkable season, with sports journalist Zach Pelake predicting that "this March, the college basketball world will have its eyes on Flynn and the Aztecs as they chase championships and, potentially, a spot in history."

    While this never came to fruition, Flynn has been awarded an additional seven accolades for his hard work during the 2019-20 basketball season: All-American by the Associated Press; first-team All-American honors by both Sports Illustrated and STADIUM; second-team honors from The Sporting News, CBS Sports and NBC Sports; and second-team All-American by The Athletic.

    NOTE: Malachi Flynn was chosen by the Toronto Raptors with the 29th selection in the NBA Draft held on November 19, 2020.
    Dick Hannula Amateur Athlete of the Year-Detail