Big Rapids, Mich. - Standout big man and NCAA Division II Men's Basketball National Player of the Year Zach Hankins (Charlevoix), who led the Ferris State Bulldogs to the school's first national championship this past season, has been chosen as the grand marshal for the 2018 Venetian Street Parade in his hometown as part of this summer's Charlevoix Venetian Festival.
Hankins, who previously announced plans to play his final campaign as a graduate transfer at NCAA Division I Xavier University next season, led the Bulldogs to a school-record 38-1 overall mark this past year en route to claiming the D2 National Championship and matching the all-time NCAA Division II record for most wins in a season.
The 2014 Charlevoix High School graduate, who is the son of Scott and Dawn Hankins, will return to his hometown to serve as the event's grand marshal. The parade begins at 11 a.m. (ET) on Saturday, July 28, and annually draws more than 20,000 spectators on the mile route thru the center of Charlevoix.
This year will mark the 40th anniversary of the Ventian Games, which are part of the festival. Hankins has played in the Venetian Games' 3-on-3 summer slam and beach bash basketball tournament over the years and played prep hoops at Charlevoix High School before becoming a dominating presence inside the paint in four seasons at Ferris State. He plans to graduate from FSU this summer with a degree in environmental biology and will pursue a master's degree at Xavier, a national D1 power.
One of the most decorated athletes in Charlevoix's rich sports history, Hankins will be the Venetian Festival's youngest-ever Grand Marshal. For additional information on the Venetian Festival, please visit www.venetianfestival.com or on facebook @cvxvenetianfestival.
The National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Division II National Player of the Year this past season, Hankins spent four seasons in the Bulldog program, helping FSU to four-straight NCAA Tournament appearances, back-to-back Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Regular Season Championships and four consecutive GLIAC Tournament titles in his career.
This past season, Hankins was tabbed as the National Player of the Year in Division II basketball by being selected as the country's top performer by both the NABC and Division II Bulletin. Hankins, whose dominant post play was pivotal as Ferris State advanced to its first NCAA Division II Elite Eight in 30 seasons, led Division II in total blocks for the second straight season and was ranked among the national leaders in field goal percentage.
In his junior campaign, Hankins set new school single-season records with 380 rebounds and a 71.1% field goal percentage while being a consensus All-America choice and claiming both the GLIAC and Midwest Region Player of the Year awards for the second consecutive campaign. He was one of the national finalists for the Bevo Francis National Small College Player of the Year honor and also scored his 1,000th career point during the historic season.
Hankins graduates as the school's all-time leader in blocked shots (319) and holds the school record for highest field goal percentage in a career (64.2%). He also ranks among the program's all-time best with 858 rebounds and finished his Bulldog career with 1,232 points. He became the first sophomore in GLIAC history to earn the league's coveted Player of the Year honor in 2016-17 when he paced the league with a conference record 130 total blocked shots. Initially, he redshirted in his first season at FSU in 2014-15 before playing as a reserve under all-region center Jared Stolicker in 2015-16 when FSU reached the D2 Sweet Sixteen.
A two-time All-American, Hankins also claimed All-GLIAC honors each of the past two seasons and was a two-time GLIAC All-Defensive Team honoree in addition to being a two-time Bevo Francis National Player of the Year finalist.
In his final season with the Bulldogs this year, Hankins helped FSU match the all-time NCAA Division II record for most wins in a year while finishing with a 38-1 mark. FSU won its final 26 games of the season and was a perfect 22-0 at home this campaign en route to the national championship.