Southern Miss and Delta State Stars Win Magnolia State's Top College Basketball Player of Year Awards

/ Source: GlobeNewswire

JACKSON, Miss., March 7, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- University of Southern Mississippi (USM) star Gary Flowers and two-time All-American Veronica Walker of Delta State University were named winners Monday of the Cellular South Howell and Gillom trophies, which are awarded annually to Mississippi's best collegiate male and female basketball players.

Flowers and Walker received the most votes from a panel of 43 print, television and radio journalists for the awards, which are conferred annually in honor of former MSU All-American and retired NBA star Bailey Howell and Peggy Gillom-Granderson, the University of Mississippi's (Ole Miss) all-time leading scorer and rebounder who recently retired after a seven-year stint as Associate Head Coach of the Lady Rebels. The awards were presented during ceremonies Monday at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum in Jackson

Flowers, a 6-foot-8 All-Conference USA senior who led the Eagles in scoring with 19 points and 7.8 rebounds per game, was chosen over two other finalists – Ole Miss senior point guard Chris Warren and Mississippi State University junior guard Dee Bost.  Walker, a two-time Gulf South Conference Western Division Player of the Year who averaged 18 points and 9.8 rebounds per game, beat out two other women's finalists –Kayla Melson of Ole Miss and May Kathryn Govero of Mississippi State University.

"We're very pleased with the caliber of players selected for the Howell and Gillom awards this year," said Jim Richmond, director of Corporate Communications for Cellular South, which has been the title sponsor of the Outstanding Player Awards program honoring the state's best football, baseball and basketball players for  13 years.  "This has been another strong year for the program in terms of individual and overall performance and leadership by the six finalists.  Both of these winners are not only great basketball players, but they're outstanding individuals with good character and strong work ethics."

Walker thanked her coaches and teammates during brief acceptance remarks.  The Lady Statesmen take their 26-3 record and No. 5 national ranking into the NCAA Division II women's basketball tournament later this week.  Flowers, who was in El Paso, Texas for the C-USA tournament and unable to attend the ceremonies, was represented by former USM and NBA star Clarence Weatherspoon.

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