FAIRFIELD, N.J., April 11, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- UNICO National has announced that it will be presenting its coveted Dr. D.M. Nigro Memorial Award for Amateur Athletics to Ryan Arcidiacono, Villanova's NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player of 2016 at the UNICO National Convention to be held in July in Cambridge, Maryland. The award is presented annually to an outstanding amateur athlete of Italian heritage after a rigorous selection process.
The awards committee made its selection in early March, a month before the incredible performance and buzzer-beating assist by Arcidiacono that led to Villanova's capture of the 2016 National Championship. This was Arcidiacono's 144th and last game for Villanova and his last pass that put Villanova to the top of the 2016 Season.
"Our committee was so pleased to have first selected Ryan for the award during the selection process earlier this year, but then to see his outstanding performance in the Final Four was just the sweet icing on the cake," stated John Alati, Athletic Awards Chair of UNICO National. "We are so honored to have a recipient who has demonstrated not only athletic ability but also outstanding leadership qualities and exemplary moral character."
Arcidiacono had a stellar four-year career at Villanova, having served as team captain for all 4 years and culminating with his performance throughout the NCAA Tournament. Ryan became the first player in program history to record 1,500 or more points and 500 or more assists.
Arcidiacono hails from Philadelphia and was destined to Villanova history – his parents Joe and Patti Arcidiacono actually met at Villanova where Joe was on the football team. His father literally "got the ball rolling" very early by installing a basketball hoop in the family's living room when Ryan was a young child.
"What an excellent recipient for this award," stated Ann Walko, UNICO National President. "In addition to his great career at Villanova, he was also, very appropriately, selected by The Italian National Team to play in an international tournament in 2015."
Some past recipients of this award include Joe Montana; Dan Marino; Diana Taurasi; Anthony Fasano; Vinnie Testaverde; Marty Liquori; Cami Granato and many others.
UNICO National, founded in 1922, the nation's largest Italian American service and charitable organization, has local chapters throughout the U.S. Its volunteer members support charitable, educational, and community service activities while celebrating Italian heritage and combating negative stereotyping. Visit unico.org.
SOURCE UNICO National