Mario Austin Honored

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State junior center Mario Austin has been voted to the 2002-03 United States Basketball Writers Association All-District IV Team for the second consecutive year, as selected by the association's membership.

A finalist for both the Wooden All-American Team and Naismith Player of the Year Awards, Austin enters this week's SEC Tournament ranked 10th in the league in scoring (15.6 ppg), third in rebounding (7.9 rpg) and second in field-goal percentage (55.0%). The reigning SEC Tournament MVP begins postseason play ranked 19th on MSU's all-time scoring list with 1,139 career points and tied for 20th with 543 career rebounds.

Comprised of players from Division I schools out of the states of Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Florida, this year's USBWA All-District IV Team is headlined by Kentucky's Tubby Smith and Keith Bogans as Coach and Player of the Year, respectively. Also voted to this year's 10-man all-district squad were repeat selections Jarvis Hayes of Georgia, Florida's Matt Bonner, Louisville's Reece Gaines and Erwin Dudley of Alabama, along with new additions Ron Slay of Tennessee, Auburn's Marquis Daniels, Chris Massie of Memphis and Georgia's Ezra Williams.

With their first SEC Western Division title and subsequent No. 1 seed since 1995-96, coach Rick Stansbury's defending SEC Tournament Champion Bulldogs will take on the winner of Thursday's Mississippi-South Carolina first-round contest during quarterfinal-round action Friday at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans. Tip-off for State's opening game of the 2003 SEC Tournament is slated for noon, and the game is set to be televised by Jefferson-Pilot Sports and slated to be aired locally in the Golden Triangle area of Mississippi on FOX Sports Net South.

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