Ford, Barnes Cross Country On Banquet Tour

If All-American sophomore point guard <B>T.J. Ford </B>has not unpacked his bags following Texas&#146; Final Four appearance in New Orleans last weekend, it won&#146;t be because of laziness. It has more to do with the fact Ford and head coach <B>Rick Barnes </B>will participate in four postseason award banquets, in three different time zones, during a four-day stretch.

To the highly-accomplished (near-) victors go the spoils, starting with Friday’s Naismith Awards Banquet in Atlanta. Ford was named the Naismith Men's College Player of the Year just before Tournament play began last month. The awards ceremony, hosted by the Atlanta Tipoff Club, is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. ET at the Georgia World Congress Center.

The two will fly from Atlanta to Los Angeles on Saturday for weekend festivities associated with the John R. Wooden Award. Ford is one of five finalists for the Wooden Award, joining Nick Collison (Kansas), Hollis Price (Oklahoma), Dwayne Wade (Marquette) and David West (Xavier). The 27th annual Wooden Award will be presented Saturday at 3:30 p.m. PT (5:30 CT) during a live, half-hour CBS telecast from the Los Angeles Athletic Club.

Ford and the four other Wooden finalists will serve as honorary coaches at the Inner-City Games Basketball Tournament Sunday morning. The Wooden Award Banquet is slated to begin at 5 p.m. PT (7 p.m. CT) at the Omni Hotel.

Finally, Ford and Barnes return to Austin on Monday afternoon for the annual Texas Basketball Banquet. Festivities are set to begin at 5:30 p.m. at the Frank Erwin Center.

A consensus first-team All-America selection, Ford led the team in scoring (15.0 ppg), assists (7.7 apg), steals (2.0 spg), free throw percentage (.820) and minutes (33.6 mpg). He ranks second on UT's all-time career assist list (527). In addition to the Naismith Award, Ford was both Sports Illustrated and The Sporting News selection as National Player of the Year.

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