The Cousy Award is presented by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in conjunction with The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. and is presented annually to the nation's top collegiate point guard. The first recipient was St. Joseph's Jameer Nelson in 2004, followed by North Carolina's Raymond Felton last year.
The award is named after Hall of Famer Bob Cousy, who is considered the prototype for 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, known as a brilliant playmaker of innovative passing and dribbling skills. Named one of the Top 50 Players in NBA History, Cousy led the Boston Celtics to six championships (1957, 1959-63), led the NBA in assists for eight consecutive years (1953-1960), played in 13 straight All-Star games (1951-63), and was a first-team All-NBA selection 10 straight seasons (1952-61).
"I am proud to present the 2006 award to Dee Brown who was clearly, in the opinion of our committee, the very best point guard in the country this year," Cousy said prior to handing the trophy to Brown.
Brown is a 2006 consensus second-team All-American. He is a member of the Wooden Award All-America Team and has earned second-team All-America honors by the Associated Press, U.S. Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) and NABC. Brown led the Illini in five statistical categories during the 2005-06 season, leading the team in scoring (14.2 ppg), assists (5.8 apg), steals (1.6 spg), minutes (35.8 mpg) and free throw shooting (75.7 percent). He scored in double figures 24 times, with seven games of 20+ points, and led the Illini in scoring in 15 games. Brown scored a career-high 34 points vs. Michigan State in the Big Ten opener on Jan. 5, marking the highest scoring total by a UI player in eight years. Brown led the Big Ten in assists and totaled 191 assists on the season, which ranks fifth on the all-time Illinois single-season list.
"To have Dee's name associated with the Bob Cousy Award is an honor, because you're talking about a man who defined the point guard position; Cousy is the first name you think of when talking about the great point guards of all-time," Weber said. "Dee sacrificed himself to help make our team better and did all of the things that you want from your point guard. He has been our leader, he's been an inspiration to his teammates, and most importantly, he is a winner. He has meant so much to our program and to college basketball in general, and is very deserving of this award"
Brown is the winningest player in school history and the second-winningest player in Big Ten history, having totaled 114 victories (along with teammate James Augustine) from 2003-06. His name is all over the Illinois record book, as Brown has played the most minutes (4,698), played the most games (137) and started the most games (136) of any player in school history. Brown ranks third on the Illini all-time scoring chart with 1,812 career points, is second in school history in career 3-pointers (299), career assists (674) and career steals (231), and third in career field goals (638). His career assists total ranks fifth in Big Ten history, while his career 3-pointers and career steals totals rank sixth in Big Ten history.
"I am so blessed to receive the Bob Cousy Award, and I want to thank Mr. Cousy, the Basketball Hall of Fame and The Hartford for honoring me," Brown said. "There are so many people that have had an impact on my career and have allowed me to be successful, including my mom and family, Coach Weber and the assistant coaches, all my teammates, especially Luther Head and Deron Williams, the University, and of course all the Illini fans. I talk it about it all the time, but I am so grateful to have returned for my senior year to play point guard and put on that Illini jersey again. I had an unbelievable time playing basketball at the University of Illinois, and I feel like this award is an exclamation mark on my career and all the success that our team has had over the last four years."