Illini Banquet Honors 2003-04 Basketball Team

Tuesday night the Fighting Illini Men's Basketball team had their yearly awards banquet. Thankfully this year's banquet was not as eventufil as last year's, but it did mark the last appearance by Chris Lowery as an Illinois Assistant Coach, as he is now Southern Illinois' new head coach.<br><br>Deron Williams was named the Team MVP, and Jerrance Howard was given the Kenny Battle Award for the second straight season. Read more on Tuesday night's festivities in this update from

The Fighting Illini 2003-04 season officially came to a close tonight with the 82nd annual Kiwanis Men's Basketball Banquet, held at the Holiday Inn Banquet Center, Urbana. For the more than 700 in attendance it was a time to celebrate the achievements of the 2004 squad, which included a run to the Big Ten championship and a trip to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen. Illinois won 26 games on the year, the third-most in school history, and was ranked No. 11 in the final ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll.

Sophomore Deron Williams was named the team's Most Valuable Player by vote of his teammates after being named to the All-Big Ten First Team this season. Nick Smith earned the Ralf Woods Free Throw Award for highest free-throw percentage in Big Ten games by making 82.4 percent of his free throws. Sophomore James Augustine won the Illini Rebounders Award as the team's top rebounder with an average of 7.3 boards per game.

Senior Jerrance Howard was named the Kenny Battle Most Inspirational Player for the second-consecutive season. Also voted on by the Illini team, Howard earned the respect of his teammates for his effort and hard work in practice each day.

The Matto Award, given in honor of former Illini guard Matt Heldman who died in a car accident, was given to sophomore Dee Brown for the second-consecutive year. The award signifies all-around hustle and enthusiasm on the floor.

Junior Luther Head was named the team's Most Improved Player and junior Roger Powell was named as winner of the Lou Henson Courage Award, given for the first time to the player who takes the most charges and demonstrates the courage, attitude and determination displayed by former Illini coach Lou Henson.

2003-04 Fighting Illini Men's Basketball Awards
Most Valuable Player: Deron Williams
Kenny Battle Most Inspirational Player: Jerrance Howard
Matto Award: Dee Brown
Most Improved Player: Luther Head
Lou Henson Courage Award: Roger Powell
Ralf Woods Free Throw Award: Nick Smith
Illini Rebounders Award: James Augustine would like to thank the University of Illinois for this Report.

Illini Inquirer Top Stories