Lofton among CLASS finalists

(Kansas City, MO) - As the college basketball season reaches the midway point of conference play, finalists for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award in Men's and Women's Basketball were announced today, launching a nationwide balloting process to determine the 2008 award winners for the nation's premier tribute to college seniors.

Ten finalists in both the men's and women's division were selected from a list of 30 candidates based on personal qualities that define a complete student-athlete. The four primary areas of criteria include: classroom, community, character and competition.

The women's finalists are: Meagan Cowher, Princeton University, Sarah Elliot, University of Kentucky, Sylvia Fowles, Louisiana State University, Carlene Hightower, La Salle University, Tasha Humphrey, University of Georgia, Crystal Langhorne, University of Maryland, Sarah Jo Lawrence, George Washington University, Jackie McFarland, University of Colorado, Rebekah Parker, University of Evansville, and Candice Wiggins, Stanford University.

The men's finalists are: Jaycee Carroll, Utah State University, Shan Foster, Vanderbilt University, A.J. Graves, Butler University, Roy Hibbert, Georgetown University, Chris Lofton, University of Tennessee, Drew Neitzel, Michigan State University, DeMarcus Nelson, Duke University, Brian Roberts, University of Dayton, Sean Singletary, University of Virginia, and Peyton Stovall, Ball State University

These finalists will be placed on the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award ballot for a nationwide vote beginning February 6 and concluding March 21. Fan balloting, available on the award's official website, will be combined with votes from coaches, media and sponsors to determine the recipient of the award.

Winners will be announced during the NCAA Men's and Women's Final Four, scheduled on April 5-7 in San Antonio, TX for men and April 6-8 in Tampa, FL for women. The Lowe's All-Senior All-America Team will also be recognized.

"These young men and women are outstanding student-athletes who deserve recognition for their achievements on the court and off the court," said Bob Gfeller, Lowe's Senior Vice President of Marketing and Advertising. "The Lowe's Senior CLASS Award is dedicated to honor senior collegians that are making an impact on others with their talents. We look forward to an exciting finish to the college basketball season and crowning our award winners at the respective NCAA Final Four weekends."

An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the award was launched during the 2001-02 season in response to the trend of college basketball players leaving college early to turn professional. The award was conceived by sportscaster Dick Enberg, who continues to serve as Honorary Chairman. It was initiated after the remarkable story of Shane Battier, who was projected as an NBA lottery pick but returned for his senior season at Duke, led the Blue Devils to the national championship and earned his degree.

Previous winners of the men's award include Juan Dixon of Maryland (2002), David West of Xavier (2003), Jameer Nelson of St. Joseph's (2004) and Wayne Simien of Kansas in (2005), J.J. Reddick of Duke (2006) and Alando Tucker of Wisconsin (2007).

Recipients of the women's award include Sue Bird of Connecticut (2002), LaToya Thomas of Mississippi State (2003), Alana Beard of Duke (2004) and Kendra Wecker of Kansas State (2005), Seimone Augustus of LSU (2006) and Alison Bales of Duke (2007).

Lowe's, an official Corporate Partner of the NCAA, extended the award in 2007 to include six other NCAA sports: baseball, softball, men's hockey, men's lacrosse, men's soccer and women's soccer.

Inside Tennessee Top Stories