SPRINGFIELD, MASS. - The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in conjunction with The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. (NYSE: HIG) are pleased to announce this years Finalists for the Bob Cousy Award presented by The Hartford, an honor presented annually to the nation's top collegiate point guard. The tightest Finalist voting in Cousy Award history yielded an unprecedented seventeen Finalists, who were chosen from a pool of over fifty top candidates from NCAA Division I, II and III institutions across the country. Among the Finalists for the award is the University of Alabama's junior point guard, Ronald Steele of Birmingham. A tie in the voting of eligible candidates created a total of 17 Finalists, one more than the expected list of 16. The 2007 Finalists were selected by screening committees comprised of members of the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) representing all three divisions of collegiate basketball.
Beginning today, college basketball fans nationwide will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite candidate online at www.cousyaward.com
"The Bob Cousy Award presented by The Hartford has established itself as one of college basketball's premier awards" said John L. Doleva, Hall of Fame President & CEO. "Mr. Cousy had a vision for this award when it was created - to recognize winning traits like leadership, vision and integrity. When you review the credentials of the student-athletes who are Finalists for the 2007 Award, it is clear there are a number of talented players who are striving to achieve the standard set by Mr. Cousy. "
"Just like these players demonstrate on the basketball court, The Hartford and its network of independent agents represent leadership, vision, teamwork and integrity in the insurance industry," said David Moore, assistant vice president of marketing for The Hartford's Property & Casualty operations. "We're honored to be part of a growing tradition that supports these values, and we wish the best of luck to all the finalists for this year's award."
Cousy, also known as "Mr. Basketball," is considered the prototype of point guards and was a freshman on the Holy Cross team that won the NCAA Championship in 1947. He was a pioneer in the NBA, famous for bringing a 'flashy' style of passing and showmanship to the game. Named one of the Top 50 Players in NBA History, Cousy led the Boston Celtics to championships in 1957 and 1959 through 1963. Cousy led the NBA in assists for eight consecutive years (1953-1960) and played in 13 straight All-Star games. After his retirement from professional basketball he was a successful coach at Boston College from 1963 to 1969, with an overall record of 117 wins and 38 losses.
"If basketball is an art form," noted Cousy, "it primarily resides in the artistry, creativity, imagination and development of the nuances of the position by a genuine point guard such as John Stockton or Jason Kidd." Cousy was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1971.
About the Bob Cousy Award presented by The Hartford:
Nominees for the Bob Cousy Award presented by The Hartford were solicited through the College Sports Information Directors of America
(COSIDA) and the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC). A committee comprised of CoSIDA members narrowed the field to 17 student athletes from all three divisions of men's NCAA college basketball. The group of 17 will be reviewed and a winner chosen by a Blue Ribbon selection committee comprised of Hall of Famers, Mr. Cousy, college coaches, media members, and a vote representing the top vote getter in the on-line poll at www.cousyaward.com
2007 BOB COUSY AWARD PRESENTED BY THE HARTFORD FINALISTS
Bobby Brown, Cal State Fullerton
Darren Collison, UCLA
Levance Fields, Pittsburgh
Taurean Green, Florida
Dominic James, Marquette
Jared Jordan, Marist
Acie Law, Texas A&M
Ty Lawson, North Carolina
Russell Robinson, Kansas
Ramon Sessions, Nevada
Sean Singletary, Virginia
Mustafa Shakur, Arizona
Ronald Steele, Alabama