Alwal, Henderson win Gillom, Howell awards

Ole Miss guard Marshall Henderson, the leading scorer and 3-point shooter in the Southeastern Conference this season, won the C Spire Howell Trophy Monday as the state’s top male college basketball player, while Mississippi State’s Martha Alwal won the C Spire Gillom Trophy as the best female college basketball player.

Henderson, a 6-foot-2 junior college transfer and Hurst, Texas native, edged out Rebel teammate and senior forward Murphy Holloway, Ole Miss’ all-time leading rebounder, and Southern Miss senior guard and leading scorer Dwayne Davis for the award. Henderson led Ole Miss and the SEC in scoring (19.7 points per game), in three point field goals (121) and in free throw percentage (.877).

I don’t know if there’s a better shooter in the country,” said Ole Miss Head Coach Andy Kennedy, describing Henderson’s long-range shooting this year. “Marshall is fearless and is always ready to take the big shot in a game. He’s a special competitor and does a great job of firing up our team when we’re down or in a funk.”

Mississippi State sophomore center Martha Alwal, a 6-foot-4 all SEC All-Defensive team selection and Worthington, Minn., native, led the team in scoring (12.1) and rebounding (9.7) and was third in free throw percentage at 78.9. Alwal, who recorded 16 double-doubles and 78 blocks for the Lady Bulldogs this season, edged out point guards Jamierra Faulkner of USM and Valencia McFarland of Ole Miss.

She’s just a great person, a great player and a great leader,” said Mississippi State head coach Vic Schaefer in describing Alwal’s accomplishments. “I told our sports information director two years ago before the beginning of the season to remember her name and it turns out there was a lot to remember.”

Henderson and Alwal received the awards at an awards luncheon sponsored by C Spire Wireless and the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum. Legendary former Ole Miss Lady Rebels head coach Van Chancellor, one of the most decorated head coaches in the history of women’s collegiate and professional basketball, was the keynote speaker. The winners were selected by a statewide panel of print, TV and radio media. By design C Spire, nor the Hall of Fame and Museum, has no vote in the process.

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 Naismith 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 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 Wireless. “This has been another great year in terms of individual and overall performance and leadership among the basketball teams in our state,” he added, noting that some of the teams led by this year’s award finalists are likely headed to the NCCA tournament.

2013 marks the 17th anniversary of Outstanding Player Awards presentation. C Spire Wireless has served as title sponsor for 15 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.

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