Vol. 48, No. 2 February 2011 .pdf version
Bryan Burwell: Scrimmages shouldn't be a secret
Joe Mitch: USBWA breakfast to include Phi Slama Jama
John Akers: Looking for next Rising Star
Lenox Rawlings: Good sportswriting remains the same
Brian Noubert: Va. Tech closing doors to new media
Four multiple winners writing contest claim firsts
Complete Best Writing Contest results, stories

Joe Mitch

USBWA breakfast to include new award, Phi Slama Jama

By JOE MITCH / Missouri Valley Conference
USBWA Executive Director

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Plans are underway for the USBWA's annual breakfast at the NCAA Final Four to honor the organization's player, coach and freshman of the year.

The USBWA has entered into a partnership with the University of Houston lettermen's club, called the "H" Association, to promote the breakfast to the general public during this year's Final Four in Houston. The breakfast, scheduled for 8 a.m. on Friday, April 1, the day before the national semifinals, will be held at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston.

At the breakfast, the USBWA will present the Oscar Robertson Player of the Year Trophy and the Henry Iba Coach of the Year Award and the winner of the Wayman Tisdale Freshman of the Year Award. Formal presentation of the Tisdale Award will be made in May at the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame by Access Sports, an Oklahoma City-based, not-for-profit foundation formed to support youth basketball in Oklahoma by allowing disadvantaged youth the opportunity to participate in leagues and training.

Send your nomination for the Rising Star Award to John Akers by Feb. 15
Read the winning stories from the annual Best Writing Contest
USBWA member/award programs

The USBWA will also present its "Good Guy" Award to a coach who is recognized for being media friendly and for his contributions to college basketball.

In addition to the USBWA awards at the breakfast, the USBWA, with the assistance of the "H" Association, will honor the University of Houston's Phi Slama Jama teams that went to three straight Final Fours in 1982, 1983 and 1984 under Coach Guy Lewis and featured USBWA All-American Akeem Olajuwon.

The "H" Association has confirmed that 23 of 25 former Houston players have indicated they plan on attending the breakfast. A crowd of close to 1,000 is expected to be on hand for the ceremonies.

The USBWA Friday breakfast has grown to become an annual fixture at the Final Four and has proven to be an excellent fund raiser for the organization and a way to showcase the USBWA's national player and coach awards.

The event has been a sellout every year since it was first held in 2005. Oscar Robertson has been a fan favorite and is on hand to present the player of the year award. USBWA members introduce the award recipients and tell stories about the winners that delight the crowd. Players and coaches typically have stayed over after the breakfast to sign autographs and pose for pictures.

It's the one event at the Final Four where fans get a chance to rub elbows with some of the greats in college basketball, past and present.

Current USBWA President Bryan Burwell will emcee this year's breakfast.

Tickets for the breakfast are $75 each and will be available on-line in February at usbwa.com.

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