First-ever fan voting for top basketball players underway

JACKSON — For the first time in the history of the awards, Mississippians have the opportunity to take part in the voting for the C Spire Howell and Gillom Trophies, which annually honor the Magnolia state’s top male and female college basketball players.

C Spire, along with the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum (MSHOF), announced fan voting will count for 10 percent of the 2013-2014 Howell and Gillom Trophy awards. A panel of statewide media will comprise the remaining 90 percent of the voting.

“This gives fans a chance to help identify our state’s best male and female college basketball players,” said Rick Cleveland, executive director of the MSHOF and co-sponsor of the award along with C Spire. “The National Basketball Association and players and coaches have used fan voting to determine who plays in the All-Star game for years. Giving our fans, who are some of the most passionate in sports, the chance to have a voice in the process will help create and sustain more interest in a pair of awards that have become an integral part of Mississippi college basketball tradition.”

The C Spire Howell and Gillom Trophies will be awarded during a March 3 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 and last year’s winner, Ole Miss’ Marshall Henderson.

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 and last year’s winner Martha Alwal from Mississippi State.

“College basketball fans across Mississippi are very passionate about their schools and the star players in their respective programs,” said Jim Richmond, vice president of Corporate Communications for C Spire. “We’re excited about giving them the opportunity to vote for their favorite players for the C Spire Howell and Gillom Trophies.”

The top three finalists for the 2014 Howell Trophy include Marshall Henderson, last year’s winner, and Jarvis Summers from Ole Miss and Neil Watson of Southern Miss. Martha Alwal, last year’s winner from Mississippi State, Tia Faleru of Ole Miss and Southern Miss’ Jamierra Faulkner lead the list of 2014 finalists for the Gillom Trophy.

Fan voting began today at 9 a.m. and will end March 2 at 5 p.m. By visiting C Spire’s new fan voting website, www.csopavoting.com, fans can vote for their favorite college basketball player by simply providing an email address and name, or connecting through Facebook or Twitter. Once an account is created, the 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 week-long voting period.

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.

This year marks the 18th anniversary of the Outstanding Player Awards presentation. C Spire has served as title sponsor for 15 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 Wireless Outstanding Player Award series.

 

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