Feb. 5, 2009
SPRINGFIELD, MA - The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in conjunction with The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc., are pleased to announce this year's finalists for the Bob Cousy Award presented by The Hartford, an honor presented annually to the nation's top collegiate point guard. Saint Mary's sophomore point guard Patrick Mills and Gonzaga senior Jeremy Pargo were selected as one of the 13 finalists for the Division I award.
With two players selected, the WCC had the third most players named to the final list. The Big East led the way with four players, followed by the ACC with three and the WCC with two.
The 17 finalists were chosen from a pool of over 60 candidates from NCAA Division I, II and III institutions across the country. The 2009 finalists were selected by screening committees comprised of media members representing all three divisions of collegiate basketball. The 2009 Bob Cousy Award presented by The Hartford winner will be presented at the NCAA Men's Final Four in Detroit, Michigan on Monday, April 6.
Through the first 20 games of the season, Mills was the Gaels' leading scorer, averaging 18.7 points per game, while leading the team in assists (77) and steals (47). He helped the Gaels post a school-record 18-1 mark, and a school-record 15-game win streak before breaking his hand late in the first half against Gonzaga on Jan. 29. Mills averaged a team-high 32.8 minutes per game, while shooting 42.4 percent from the floor and 36.2 percent from 3-point land, making a team-high 51 3-pointers.
Beginning today, college basketball fans nationwide will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite candidate online at www.cousyaward.com. The top vote-getter from the on-line poll will receive the "Fan Vote", representing one vote to be cast by the Blue Ribbon committee selecting the award winner. The Blue Ribbon committee is comprised of Hall of Famers including Bob Cousy, Dean Smith and Jim Calhoun, as well as college coaches from Divisions I, II and III, members of the media and additional college basketball experts and celebrities.
"When Mr. Cousy created this prestigious award, his desire was to not only recognize a point guard for their ability, but to honor those who represent character traits such as leadership, vision and integrity, said Basketball Hall of Fame President & CEO John L. Doleva. "When you review the credentials of the student-athletes who are Finalists for the 2009 Award, it is clear there are a number of talented players who are striving to live and achieve the standards set by Mr. Cousy."
"We are excited to again join forces with the Basketball Hall of Fame in support of the Bob Cousy Award, an organization which promotes Mr. Cousy's values of leadership, vision, teamwork and integrity among collegiate athletes," said Connie Weaver, senior vice president of marketing and communications at The Hartford. "These values, set by Mr. Cousy, are also mirrored here at The Hartford and part of all that we do--from the products and services we offer through our insurance, investment and retirement businesses to how we serve our customers. We applaud this year's finalists for working hard to be the best that they can be."
Cousy, also known as "Mr. Basketball," is considered the prototype of point guards and was a freshman on the Holy Cross team that won the NCAA Championship in 1947. He was a pioneer in the NBA, famous for bringing a `flashy' style of passing and showmanship to the game. Named one of the Top 50 Players in NBA History, Cousy led the Boston Celtics to championships in 1957 and 1959 through 1963. Cousy led the NBA in assists for eight consecutive years (1953-1960) and played in 13 straight All-Star games. After his retirement from professional basketball he was a successful coach at Boston College from 1963 to 1969, with an overall record of 117 wins and 38 losses.
"If basketball is an art form," noted Cousy, "it primarily resides in the artistry, creativity, imagination and development of the nuances of the position by a genuine point guard such as John Stockton or Jason Kidd." Cousy was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1971.
About The Hartford
The Hartford, a Fortune 100 company, is one of the nation's largest diversified financial services companies, with 2007 revenues of $25.9 billion. The Hartford is a leading provider of investment products, life insurance and group benefits; automobile and homeowners products; and business property and casualty insurance. International operations are located in Japan, the United Kingdom, Canada, Brazil and Ireland. The Hartford's Internet address is www.thehartford.com.
About the Bob Cousy Award presented by The Hartford:
Nominees for the Bob Cousy Award presented by The Hartford were solicited through all Division I, II and III institutions. A committee comprised of media members narrowed the field to 17 student athletes from all three divisions of men's NCAA college basketball. The group of 17 will be reviewed and a winner chosen by a Blue Ribbon selection committee comprised of Hall of Famers, Mr. Cousy, college coaches, mediamembers, and a vote representing the top vote getter in the on-line poll at www.cousyaward.com.
Previous winners of the award include D.J. Augustin (2008) of the University of Texas, Acie Law IV (2007) of Texas A&M, Dee Brown of Illinois (2006), Raymond Felton from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (2005) and Jameer Nelson from St. Joseph's University (2004).
2009 BOB COUSY AWARD PRESENTED BY THE HARTFORD FINALISTS
Sheron Collins Kansas
Darren Collison UCLA
Stephen Curry Davidson
Toney Douglas Florida State
Levance Fields Pittsburgh
Jonny Flynn Syracuse
Dominic James Marquette
Ty Lawson North Carolina
Eric Maynor Virginia Commonwealth University
Patrick Mills Saint Mary's College
Jeremy Pargo Gonzaga University
A.J. Price Connecticut
Jeff Teague Wake Forest University
Virgil Buensuceso BYU - Hawaii
Darren Duncan Merrimack College
David Arseneault Grinnell College
Sean Wallis Washington University