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Hoops Fans Will Help Decide Who Will Be the Next C Spire Howell and Gillom Trophy Winners Honoring Mississippi’s Top Male and Female College Basketball Players

New formula for determining winners means fans will influence 10 percent of the award total; sparking renewed excitement, interest and engagement with their favorite players and schools

Jackson, Miss., (March 2, 2015) – For only the second time in the history of the awards, Mississippi hoops fans will have the opportunity to take part in the voting for the C Spire Howell and Gillom Trophies, which annually honor the Magnolia state’s top male and female college basketball players.

C Spire, along with the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum (MSHOF), announced today that fan voting will count for 10 percent of the 2015 Howell and Gillom Trophy awards. A panel of statewide media will comprise the remaining 90 percent of the voting.

“This gives fans a chance to play a part in helping identify our state’s best male and female college basketball players,” said Rick Cleveland, executive director of the MSHOF and co-sponsor of the award along with C Spire. “The National Basketball Association and players and coaches have used fan voting to determine who plays in the All-Star game for years. Giving our fans, who are some of the most passionate in sports, a voice in the process creates more interest in a pair of awards that have become an integral part of Mississippi college basketball tradition.”

The 2015 C Spire Howell and Gillom Trophies will be awarded during a March 9 luncheon program at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum in Jackson. Among recent Howell Trophy winners are Trey Johnson from Jackson State, Jamont Gordon, two-time winner Jarvis Varnado and Arnett Moultrie of Mississippi State, Gary Flowers of Southern Miss and last year’s winner, Ole Miss’ Jarvis Summers.

Past recipients of the C Spire Gillom Trophy, presented since 2008, include Jennifer Rushing and two-time winner Veronica Walker from Delta State, two-time winner Alexis Rack and last year’s winner - Southern Miss’ Jamierra Faulkner.

“College basketball fans across Mississippi are very passionate about their schools and the star players in their respective programs,” said Jim Richmond, vice president of Corporate Communications for C Spire. “We’re excited about continuing to give them the opportunity to vote for their favorite players for the C Spire Howell and Gillom Trophies.”

The top three finalists for the 2015 Howell Trophy include Ole Miss’ junior guard Stefan Moody, Southern Miss’ Chip Armelin and Delta State standout Devin Schmidt. Mississippi State’s Craig Sword. Mississippi State’s super freshman Victoria Vivians, Tia Faleru of Ole Miss and Southern Miss’ Tamara Jones lead the list of 2015 finalists for the Gillom Trophy.

Fan voting will begin on Tuesday, March 3 at 8 a.m. CST and ends on Sunday, March 8 at noon. By visiting C Spire’s fan voting website, www.csopavoting.com, fans can vote for their favorite college basketball player by simply providing an email address and name, or connecting through Facebook or Twitter. Once an account is created, voting can begin and fans can choose their first, second and third place winners. Fans will be able to vote via Facebook, Twitter and text messaging and can submit up to three votes per day during the week-long voting period.

The Howell Trophy presented by C Spire 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 is named after Abbeville 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.

2015 marks the 19th anniversary of the Outstanding Player Awards presentation. C Spire has served as title sponsor for 17 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.

About C Spire
C Spire is a diversified telecommunications and technology services company that provides world-class service and a superior, comprehensive suite of customer-inspired wireless communications, ultra high speed Internet access and a range of other telecommunications products and services to consumers and businesses. This news release and other announcements are available at www.cspire.com/news. For more information about C Spire, visit www.cspire.com or follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cspire or Twitter at www.twitter.com/cspire.