FAIRFAX, Va. — University of California San Diego men’s tennis senior Justin Zhang has been named the Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar of the Year for men’s tennis, the publication Diverse: Issues in Higher Education recently announced.
In addition, Zhang was one of three finalists and the first runner-up for 2018 Arthur Ashe Jr. Male Sports Scholar of the Year.
Along with athletic performance, Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholars must maintain a cumulative grade-point-average of at least 3.2, be at least a sophomore academically and demonstrate a commitment to community service and student leadership.
Over 1,000 student-athletes in the entire 2018 class were nominated.
“I’m ecstatic, honored and humbled to be associated with the great athletes who have won this award,” said Zhang. “But it was a team effort. It’s something our coach (Timmer Willing) has instilled in us from our first day on campus — not to be just great athletes, but contribute to the community as well.
“We don’t do these things for awards, we do them because it’s the right thing to do.”
Arkansas State University football player Blaise Taylor earned male scholar of the year honors, while West Virginia University men’s basketball player Jevon Carter was also a finalist and the second runner-up.
Zhang has organized and contributed to several community service events throughout San Diego County, including Empty Cradle, Row for the Cure, Martin Luther King Day of Service and Make-A-Wish fundraisers.
The Irvine, Calif., native also participated in the programs Team-Up and IMPACT, which work with elementary school children to serve as role models and promote physical activity.
Boasting a 3.87 GPA in human biology, Zhang was named 2017 CoSIDA Academic All-America At-Large Second Team, CoSIDA Academic All-District 8 At-Large First Team as well as an Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Scholar-Athlete as a junior. He plans to attend medical school following graduation from UC San Diego.
On the court this season, Zhang has been ranked as high as 39th in the nation in singles play. The senior is currently 7-7 in singles action, mostly playing in the No. 2 singles slot.
In doubles play, Zhang and fellow senior teammate Eric Tseng are 12-3 overall this season, mostly playing in the No. 2 slot.
Diverse Magazine sponsors the Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar Awards to honor undergraduate students who have excelled in the classroom as well as on the athletic field.
Inspired by tennis legend Arthur Ashe Jr.’s commitment to education as well as his love for tennis, U.S. colleges and universities are invited to participate in this annual awards program by nominating their outstanding sports scholars.