Vol. 51, No. 3 March 2014 .pdf version
Kirk Wessler: We can't cover games we can't see
Joe Mitch: USBWA will be at center again of OKC gala
Ed Graney: Three deemed year's Most Courageous
Katha Quinn Award honors ACC's Morrison
ESPN.com's Brennan wins Rising Star award

Joe Mitch

USBWA will be at center again of Oklahoma City gala

USBWA Executive Director

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One of the highlights each year for the USBWA is to honor the players and coaches who make college basketball the great game that it is.

For the second year in a row, the USBWA will be part of a college basketball awards dinner in Oklahoma City where the association's player, coach and freshman of the year will be presented with their awards.

Referred to as the Devon Energy College Basketball Awards Gala, the dinner will take place a week after the Final Four on Monday, April 14, at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City.

A crowd in excess of 800 people is expected to attend the gala.

USBWA President Kirk Wessler will be on hand to present the Oscar Robertson Trophy to the national player of the year and the Henry Iba Award to the national coach of the year.

The Wayman Tisdale Freshman of the Year will also be presented at the gala, along with a Humanitarian Award to Kansas coach Bill Self.

Previous winners of the award include Michigan State coach Tom Izzo, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski and broadcaster Dick Vitale.

Fran Fraschilla, who does a terrific job as color analyst on ESPN telecasts, will serve as emcee for the dinner.

More from the USBWA:
USBWA scholarship application
USBWA partners with APSE, NCAA
Three to get 2014 Courage Awards
Past winners: Rising Star | Katha Quinn

Proceeds from the gala benefit the USBWA's scholarship fund and the Wayman Tisdale Foundation to provide opportunities in sports for youth in the Oklahoma City area.

The USBWA's Oscar Robertson Trophy is one of several player of-the-year awards in college basketball, the other prominent ones being the Wooden, the Naismith, the Rupp and the Associated Press.

But the Oscar Robertson Trophy is the only award named after a player and whose namesake is living. The USBWA began selecting a player of the year in 1958-59, with Oscar being the first recipient. Today, it is the nation's oldest player of the year award.

The USBWA renamed its award in 1998 after Oscar, considered by many to be the greatest player ever in college basketball.

To help publicize the award, the USBWA will hold a news conference the day before the national semifinals in Dallas to announce this year's player of the year, with Oscar himself participating in the announcement.

The Iba Award is named for legendary coach Henry Iba, who led Oklahoma A&M (now Oklahoma State) to national championships in 1945 and 1946 and an Olympic gold medal in 1964.

The Wayman Tisdale freshman of the year award honors the late Oklahoma and NBA great who was a three-time USBWA all-American. Tisdale died in 2009 following a courageous battle with cancer.

USBWA SCHOLARSHIP: Applications are now being accepted for the USBWA college scholarship that is awarded to a son or daughter of a USBWA member.

The scholarship is a $1,000 annual grant for four years and is awarded to a USBWA member's son or daughter entering college as a freshman this fall or is currently enrolled in a four-year institution.

The recipient of the scholarship will continue to receive $1,000 each year he or she remains in college as an undergraduate student (maximum of four years) and takes a minimum of 12 credit hours per semester.

Recipients must demonstrate academic excellence and show achievement in citizenship and community service.

When applying, applicants must have a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 3.00 in high school or college.

Students wishing to apply for the scholarship can go to the USBWA website at usbwa.com for an application.

RECORD NUMBERS: The USBWA reached its highest membership totals ever this year with 979 members.

SPORTSWRITING SEMINAR: Past president Malcolm Moran is working with SMU's Student Media Company to help spread the word to college and high school students in the Dallas area about the USBWA's annual sportswriting seminar at this year's Final Four.

The seminar, featuring members of the USBWA talking about issues and careers in the sportswriting profession, will be held on Friday, April 4, in the interview room at AT&T Stadium, starting at 9 a.m. Moran, director of the National Sports Journalism Center at Indiana University and a former sportswriter for the New York Times, Chicago Tribune and USA Today, will serve as moderator for the seminar.

The NCAA provides credentials to the students for practices and press conferences on Friday.

NCAA FINAL FOUR SCHEDULES: The USBWA will present the Katha Quinn, Rising Star and men's Most Courageous Awards and induct three new members into the association's Hall of Fame at the USBWA's annual honors breakfast at this year's men's Final Four in Dallas. The breakfast and presentation of the awards will be held at the Omni Hotel in downtown Dallas on Monday, April 7, beginning at 9 a.m., and will be followed by a business meeting.

The USBWA's women's player and coach of the year and the Pat Summitt Most Courageous Award winner, named in honor of the former Tennessee coach, will be honored at the women's Final Four in Nashville, Tenn., on Sunday, April 6, at the Bridgestone Arena.

Boston College's Dick Kelley dies

Dick Kelley, a longtime assistant athletic director for media relations at Boston College, passed away on Feb. 13 from a three-year battle with ALS. He was 48.

Kelley, called the "heart of Boston College athletics," by Sports Illustrated's Pete Thamel, was honored with the USBWA's Most Courageous Award before last season's Virginia game on March 3. According to Thamel, who presented the award, Kelley's 90-second standing ovation ranks among the longest in BC's Conte Forum history.

Kelley was a Boston College graduate in 1987 and joined the sports information department in 1991.

Lodge Notes: Henderson retires to life in Rome

Recent USBWA board member John Henderson has retired and moved to Rome, after 24 years at the Denver Post and 39 years after he sold his first story to the old Oregon Journal. ... Sports Illustrated hired Brian Hamilton from the Chicago Tribune and Greg Bishop from the New York Times. Hamilton, who covered Notre Dame for the Tribune, will be a college basketball blogger. Bishop, who covered college sports among other things at the Times, will do "a little bit over everything" at SI. ... Dick Weiss is among four who will be inducted into Philadelphia's Big 5 Hall of Fame. Weiss, who covered the Big 5 during his 21 years at the Philadelphia Daily News, will be recognized at a banquet at the Palestra on April 14.

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