Press Release from the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame
Players from Mississippi State’s men’s and women’s basketball programsreceived five of the six finalist nominations for the 2018 C Spire Howell and Gillom Trophies, which are awarded annually to the best male and female college basketball players in the Magnolia state.
All three of the women’s nominees are from Mississippi State’s No.2 nationally ranked and undefeated squad, and two of the three men’s finalists are also representing the resurgent Bulldogs, who have 20 wins for the first time since the 2012 season.
Senior guard Victoria Vivians, a three-time Gillom Award winner, and teammates Teaira McCowan, a junior center and senior guard Blair Schaefer are the finalists for the ladies. Brothers and starting guards for Mississippi State’s men’s basketball team - Quinndary and Nick Weatherspoon - join University of Southern Mississippi’s junior guard Cortez Edwards vying for the C Spire Howell Trophy.
Twelve different men’s players received votes from sports mediacovering the teams. Eight different women’s players received votes, with all five MSU starters getting support. Ole Miss players have taken home the hardware in the last five consecutive awards for the men while Vivians, who has won the last three years, is the only three-time winner in the history of the C Spire Gillom Trophy.
The winners will be selected through a combination of another round of media votes and a fan vote conducted by C Spire. Fans may vote for their favorite players by going to www.csopavoting.com from Monday, Feb. 26 at 5 p.m. CST through Saturday, March 3 at 5 p.m. CST. Each fan may vote up to three times daily – via Twitter, by text and through Facebook. The fan vote counts for 10 percent of the final total and has helped decide the winner several times in recent years.
Through yesterday, USM’s Edwards led the men in scoring with 15.7 points per game average while Q. Weatherspoon averaged 14.8 points a game and Nick Weatherspoon scored at an 11.2 points rate. The ladies are led by Vivian’s 19.7 points per gamemark followed by McCowan’s 18.7 per game average and Schaefer’s 9.7 point average.
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.
2018 marks the 23rd anniversary of the Outstanding Player Awards presentation. C Spire has served as title sponsor for 21 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 5 awards luncheon at MSHOF offices and online. For more information, call 601.982.8264. Former NBA star Maurice “Mo” Williams, a Jackson native,
Murrah High star and University of Alabama alumnus, will be the featured guest speaker.
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