JACKSON (MSFame.com) – Ole Miss senior guard Stefan Moody and Mississippi State sophomore guard Victoria Vivians lead a list of six finalists for the 2016 C Spire Howell and Gillom Trophies, which annually honors the state’s top male and female college basketball players.
Moody, the SEC’s leading scorer at 22.8 points per game and the 2015 C Spire Howell Trophy winner, is bidding to become only the second two-time winner of the award, which is named after former Mississippi State and NBA great Bailey Howell. Mississippi State’s Jarvis Varnado won the award in 2009 and 2010.
Joining Moody as finalists for the men’s award are Mississippi State standouts Gavin Ware and Quinndary Weatherspoon. Ware leads the Bulldogs in scoring with 15.5 points per game, blocked shots with 29 and also averages 5.3 rebounds. Weatherspoon leads the team in SEC play with 15 points per game and has averaged 12 points per game on the season.
Like Moody, Mississippi State’s super sophomore Victoria Vivians is vying to become the third back-to-back winner of the Gillom Trophy, which is named after former Ole Miss great Peggy Gillom-Granderson. Vivians is the second leading scorer in the SEC this year with 16.7 points per game and averages 5.8 rebounds per game for the 24-6 Lady Bulldogs. Veronica Walker of Delta State and Alexis Rack of Mississippi State are the other two-time winners of the award.
Shandricka Sessom of Ole Miss and Chelsey Rhodes of Delta State join Vivians as the other two finalists for the women’s award this year. Sessom is the SEC’s sixth leading scorer with 15.5 points per game and averages 5.8 rebounds per game. Rhodes leads Delta State and the Gulf South Conference in scoring with a 20.1 points per game.
For only the third time in the history of the awards, Mississippi hoops fans will have the opportunity to take part in the voting for the awards. Fan voting will count for 10 percent of each award. A panel of statewide media will comprise the remaining 90 percent of the voting.
Fan voting will begin on Tuesday, March 1 at 8:30 a.m. CST and ends on Sunday, March 6 at 8:30 a.m. CST. Fans can vote for their favorite college basketball player by visiting www.csopavoting.com, providing an email address and name, or connecting through Facebook or Twitter. Once an account is created, voting can begin and fans can choose their first, second and third place winners. Fans will be able to vote via Facebook, Twitter and text messaging and can submit up to three votes per day during the six-day voting period.
The 2016 C Spire Howell and Gillom Trophies will be awarded during a March 7 luncheon program at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum in Jackson. Among recent Howell Trophy winners are Trey Johnson from Jackson State, Jamont Gordon, two-time winner Jarvis Varnado and Arnett Moultrie of Mississippi State, Gary Flowers of Southern Miss, Marshall Henderson and Jarvis Summers of Ole Miss and last year’s winner, Ole Miss’ Stefan Moody.
Past recipients of the C Spire Gillom Trophy, presented since 2008, include Jennifer Rushing and two-time winner Veronica Walker from Delta State, two-time winner Alexis Rack of Mississippi State, Southern Miss’ Jamierra Faulkner and last year’s winner, Mississippi State’s Victoria Vivians.
The Howell Trophy presented by C Spire is named after Bailey Howell, a two-time All American at Mississippi State University and a six-time NBA All-Star who played on Boston Celtics world championship teams in 1968 and 1969. Howell, a 1977 inductee to the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and the first male Mississippi player inducted in the National Basketball Hall of Fame, still holds nearly a dozen season and career records at Mississippi State University.
The Gillom Trophy presented by C Spire is named after Abbeville native Peggie Gillom-Granderson, Ole Miss' all-time leading scorer and rebounder. She has coached in the WNBA and the Olympics and recently retired after a seven-year stint as Associate Head Coach of the Lady Rebels basketball team at Ole Miss.
2016 marks the 20th anniversary of the Outstanding Player Awards presentation. C Spire has served as title sponsor for 18 of those years since 1998. The Conerly Trophy in college football, the Howell Trophy in men’s college basketball, the Gillom Trophy in women’s college basketball and the Ferriss Trophy in college baseball comprise the four elements of the C Spire Outstanding Player Award series.
Tickets starting at $40 each are on sale for the March 7 awards luncheon at MSHOF offices and online. For more information, call 601.982.8264.
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