ST. LOUIS (USBWA) – Grant Dykstra, who transformed
himself into an all-around college basketball player at Western
Washington University despite having partial use of his right arm
due to a childhood accident, has been selected to receive the
U.S. Basketball Writers Association Most Courageous Award for
Dykstra will be presented with the award on April 4 in St. Louis
during the NCAA Final Four.
Dykstra's right arm was mangled in a grain auger when he was
two and required 16 surgeries over the next 10 years and hours of
physical therapy to regain strength and movement in his arm. He
taught himself to shoot a basketball left-handed and learned to
dribble with both hands.
"We are pleased to honor Grant Dykstra for what has been a lifetime
of courage," said Robyn Norwood, sports writer for the Los Angeles
Times and USBWA president.
Dykstra, a 6-4 junior guard/forward from Everson, Wash., is the
leading scorer on Western Washington's NCAA Division II nationally-ranked
team this season with a 17.5 scoring average and is third in rebounding
at 5.5 per game. He led the Vikings in scoring last season and was
Dykstra was born in a basketball family. His father, Glen, was
one of the best high school players in his county's history. His
brother, Greg, and sister, Shannon, were all-state players in high
school. It was Dykstra's goal to play basketball while growing up
and hastened his recovery.
"Basketball helped him rehab faster and more completely," said
his father. "Having a cast on his hand never stopped him from having
a basketball in his hand."
The USBWA award is presented annually to recognize a player,
coach, game official or administrator who has demonstrated extraordinary
courage reflecting honor on the sport of amateur basketball. The
USBWA has been presenting a Most Courageous Award since 1979.
Past recipients include former North Carolina State coach and
ESPN/ABC analyst Jim Valvano for his battle with cancer; Arkansas
coach Nolan Richardson for the racial prejudice he faced in life
and the death of his daughter to leukemia while he was coaching;
and last year's winner Trey Schwab, a Marquette assistant coach
who underwent double-lung transplant.
Grant Dykstra bio (from wwuvikings.com)
• USBWA Most Courageous