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Ole Miss Guard Stefan Moody, Mississippi State’s Victoria Vivans Win 2016 Awards as Magnolia State's Top Male, Female College Basketball Players
Both players are back-to-back winners of coveted C Spire Howell Trophy and C Spire Gillom Trophy
Jackson, Miss., (March 7, 2016) – Mississippi’s Stefan Moody and Mississippi State’s Victoria Vivians became only the fourth and fifth players in the history of the C Spire Howell and Gillom Trophies to win back-to-back awards when they were named on Monday as the state’s best male and female college basketball players this season.
Moody and Vivians received the awards at a special luncheon sponsored by the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum and C Spire and attended by coaches, fans and other special guests. A select group of print and television news media reporters and editors who cover college basketball in Mississippi chose all finalists and award winners.
The 5-foot-10 senior guard from Kissimmee, Florida and the SEC’s leading scorer with 23.4 points a game, became only the second back-to-back winner in the award’s history with his selection over two other men’s finalists - Mississippi State’s Gavin Ware and Quinndary Weatherspoon. The award is named after former Mississippi State and NBA great Bailey Howell. Mississippi State’s Jarvis Varnado was the only other back-to-back award winner in 2009 and 2010.
Vivians, a 6-foot-1 sophomore guard from Carthage, Mississippi, led the No. 16-ranked Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs to the SEC conference finals and was the league’s second leading scorer at 16.7 points a game this year. She bested Ole Miss’ Shandricka Sessom and Delta State’s Chelsey Rhodes for the trophy, which is named after former Ole Miss great Peggy Gillom-Granderson. Veronica Walker of Delta State and Alexis Rack of Mississippi State are the only other two-time winners of the women’s award.
“Victoria brings it every day and that’s unique in today’s culture,” said Mississippi state head coach Vic Schafer. “She’s passionate about the game and that’s infectious on our team.” Schafer said Vivians has saved some of her best play for the end of the season and the SEC tournament, averaging 19.2 points and 6.8 rebounds over the last five games. “It’s not just the scoring. It’s not just her jump shot. She has impacted our program and our university tremendously in the short time she’s been there.”
Entering the SEC men’s basketball tournament, Moody is 8 points and 19 assists shy of becoming only the second player in the history of the league to score 700 points and dish out 150 assists in a single season. The only other player to achieve that milestone is former LSU and NBA great “Pistol” Pete Maravich.
“Stefan Moody is the most dynamic playmaker in our generation,” said Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy. “He leads the SEC in scoring and when the awards come out tomorrow he’ll likely be the second first-team All-SEC player in the history of our program. He’s been a tremendous player, teammate and leader and deserves this honor.”
For the third time in the history of the awards, Mississippi hoops fans had the opportunity to take part in the voting for the C Spire Howell and Gillom Trophies. Fan voting counted for a weighted 10 percent of the awards total. Moody won the fan vote for the men’s award and Sessom won the women’s fan vote.
The C Spire Howell Trophy 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 C Spire Gillom Trophy is named after Abbeville, Miss. 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.
“There’s definitely some NBA and WNBA-caliber talent among this year’s C Spire Howell and Gillom Trophy award winners,” said Jim Richmond, vice president of Corporate Communications for C Spire. "This has been another great year in terms of individual performance and overall leadership among the basketball teams in our state,” he added, noting that several of the teams led by this year’s award finalists are likely headed to the NCCA tournament.
2016 marks the 21th anniversary of Outstanding Player Awards presentation. C Spire has served as title sponsor for 19 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.