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Six Finalists Selected For 2012 C Spire Wireless Howell and Gillom Trophies

Sports Hall of Fame and Wireless Provider Honor State’s Top Male and Female College Basketball Players

Jackson, Miss., (February 28, 2012) – Mississippi State has three finalists among a total of six who will be vying for the C Spire Howell and Gillom trophies, which are awarded annually to the best men’s and women’s collegiate basketball player in the Magnolia State.

Mississippi State guard Dee Bost and forward Arnett Moultrie are two of the three finalists for the C Spire Howell Trophy along with Southern Miss guard Neil Watson. Finalists for the C Spire Gillom Trophy are Mississippi State guard Diamber Johnson, Ole Miss guard Valencia McFarland and Delta State All-American Veronica Walker, the 2011 winner of the C Spire Gillon Trophy.

Moultrie leads the SEC in rebounding with 10.7 per game and is fourth in scoring with 16 points per game. Senior teammate Dee Bost, MSU’s career assists leader, leads the SEC in assists with an average of 5 per game and is fifth in SEC scoring at 15.9 points per game. Watson is USM’s assist leader with 4.6 a game and tied for leading scorer on the team averaging 12.1 points per game. He also leads C-USA in free throw shooting percentage (86.9 percent).

All three women finalists are the leading scorers on their team. Walker, an All-American senior forward for Delta State, leads her team in scoring with 18.5 points per game and rebounding with 8.4 per game and is only the fourth player in school history to score 2,000 career points and grab 1,000 career rebounds. She is a finalist for the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Division II National Player of the Year.

McFarland averaged 13.7 points per game this season and also led the Lady Rebels with 4.9 assist per game and 2.1 steals per game. Johnson led the Lady Bulldogs in scoring with 14.7 points per game and assists with 3.9 per game.

The two winners, chosen from among the six finalists by 51 statewide media voters, will be announced on Monday, March 5 at a special luncheon event hosted at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum in Jackson. Finalists and their head coaches are expected to attend the luncheon event. Tickets are $35 per person and include a buffet-style lunch. Native Mississippian and former longtime national college basketball and football play-by-play announcer Ron Franklin will serve as master of ceremonies. All proceeds benefit the private, non-profit Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum.

“There’s definitely some NBA and WNBA-caliber talent among the young men and women who have been selected as finalists for the 2012 C Spire Howell and Gillom awards,” said Jim Richmond, director of Corporate Communications for C Spire Wireless. "This has been another strong year in terms of individual and overall performance and leadership among the basketball teams in our state,” he added.

The Howell Trophy presented by C Spire Wireless is named after Bailey Howell, a two-time All American at Mississippi State University and a six-time NBA All-Star who played on Boston Celtics world championship teams in 1968 and 1969. Howell, a 1977 inductee to the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and the first male Mississippi player inducted in the National Basketball Hall of Fame, still holds nearly a dozen season and career records at Mississippi State University.

The Gillom Trophy presented by C Spire Wireless is named after Abbeville, Mississippi native Peggie Gillom-Granderson, Ole Miss’ all-time leading scorer and rebounder. She has coached in the WNBA and the Olympics and recently retired after a seven-year stint as Associate Head Coach of the Lady Rebels basketball team at Ole Miss.

2012 marks the 16th anniversary of Outstanding Player Awards presentation. C Spire Wireless has served as title sponsor for 14 of those years since 1998. The Conerly Trophy in college football, the Howell Trophy in men’s college basketball, the Gillom Trophy in women’s college basketball and the Ferriss Trophy in college baseball comprise the four elements of the C Spire Wireless Outstanding Player Award series.

For ticket information, contact the Museum at 1-800-280-FAME (3263).

About C Spire Wireless

C Spire Wireless is a diversified wireless communications company passionately committed to helping customers by personalizing wireless services designed just for them. The company is the first wireless provider in the U.S. to personalize customers’ experience by offering apps that fit who they are, services that anticipate their needs, and rewards for using their phone in new ways – all with seamless ease and at amazingly fast speeds. This news release and other announcements are available at www.cspire.com/news. For more information about C Spire Wireless and its products and services, visit www.cspire.com or follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cspire or Twitter at www.twitter.com/cspire.