March 1, 2005
Kansas City, MO - As college basketball reaches the excitement of conference championships and post-season play, the 2005 Bayer Advantage® Senior CLASS Award Organizing Committee has announced the 10 male and 10 female finalists for the 2004-2005 season and Baylor's Steffanie Blackmon is on the list of 10. The award is presented annually to the outstanding senior basketball player at the NCAA Division I level.
Besides Blackmon, the women's finalists include Jacqueline Batteast (Notre Dame), Shyra Ely (Tennessee), Sandora Irvin (Texas Christian), Temeka Johnson (Louisiana State), Caity Matter (Ohio State), Janel McCarville (Minnesota), Kendra Wecker (Kansas State), Tan White (Mississippi State), and Tanisha Wright (Penn State).
The male candidates include Taylor Coppenrath (Vermont), Travis Diener (Marquette), Daniel Ewing (Duke), Joey Graham (Oklahoma State), John Lucas III (Oklahoma State), Lawrence Roberts (Mississippi State), Wayne Simien (Kansas), Chris Thomas (Notre Dame), Ronny Turiaf (Gonzaga), and Hakim Warrick (Syracuse).
A national committee of sportswriters and sportscasters selected the 10 men and 10 women finalists for the Fourth annual award. The names of the finalists will appear on the official ballot during the national voting process throughout the month of March.
The winners will be determined by a points system involving three voting groups: the national media committee, Division I head basketball coaches, and national online fan balloting via the official website, www.seniorclassaward.com.
The Senior CLASS Award - an acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School - was launched in the 2001-02 college basketball season. It is designed to honor the attributes of seniors who remain committed to their university and elect to pursue the many rewards that a senior season can bring. Legendary sportscaster Dick Enberg initiated the idea for the award and now serves as Honorary Chairman.
"The award is designed to return the prestige and dignity of being a senior college basketball player," Enberg said. "It's not intended to say that leaving early for pro basketball is wrong, rather to celebrate those who do decide to return for a senior season."
The winners will be announced on national television during the 2005 Final Four tournaments in St. Louis and Indianapolis. At the same time, the Bayer Advantage® Senior CLASS Award will also announce its First and Second All-Senior, All-American teams, based on ballot results.
The remarkable story of Shane Battier leading Duke to the 2001 national championship in his senior year inspired the inception of the award. St. Joseph's Jameer Nelson and Duke's Alana Beard were honored last year; they joined an elite company of past winners - Juan Dixon (Maryland), Sue Bird (Connecticut), David West (Xavier), and LaToya Thomas (Mississippi State).
The Fourth Annual Tribute Gala for the Bayer Advantage® Senior CLASS Awards will be held on Saturday, April 30, 2005, at the Westin Crown Center, in downtown Kansas City, Missouri. The event is hosted by the Pride of Kansas City Foundation.