A four-year starter from Kusterdingen, Germany, Blessing owns a 3.79 grade point average in economics and is scheduled to graduate with his degree in May. He becomes the first USC Upstate player in school history to be named the A-Sun Scholar Athlete of the Year, and he is just the second player in school history to be selected to the A-Sun Academic All-Conference Team for four consecutive seasons.
“I am very honored to receive this award, and I want to take this opportunity to thank everybody that has supported me during my time here at Upstate,” Blessing said. “I have had an amazing experience at Upstate and this award is a wonderful culmination to my career as a Spartan.”
On the court, Blessing finished the regular season second in the A-Sun with a 2.5 assist/turnover ratio and never had more than three turnovers in any game this season. He ranked 12th in the league with 2.7 assists per game and 19th with 0.9 steals per game.
Blessing averaged 4.5 points and 2.3 rebounds per game during the regular season and was third on the team with 31 made three-pointers.
“Mario has not only demonstrated a great acumen and accomplishment as a student, as exhibited by his exceptional grades, but he is also been a starter for his entire career on a team that has had a great deal of success,” USC Upstate head coach Eddie Payne said. “This award signifies a job well done by Mario.”
Blessing and the third-seeded Spartans take to the floor tonight at 7 p.m. to face No. 6 seed Kennesaw State from the Hodge Center in the A-Sun Tournament quarterfinals.