JACKSON, Miss., March 9, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Mississippi State swept the 2020 C Spire Howell and Gillom awards Monday as sophomore forward Reggie Perry and freshman forward Rickea Jackson were named the state's best male and female college basketball players this season.
Perry and Jackson received the awards at a special luncheon Monday hosted by the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and attended by coaches, fans and other guests. A select group of news media who cover college basketball in Mississippi and a separate fan voting contest administered by C Spire chose the eventual winners.
The 6-foot-10 sophomore from Thomasville, Georgia and first-time Howell Trophy finalist, edged out Ole Miss senior guard Breein Tyree, a two-time finalist, and Tougaloo senior forward Ledarius Woods, the first finalist from his school. This is the third straight year that an MSU Bulldog has won the award.
Perry finished as the Bulldog's leading scorer, averaging 17.4 points a game, and the leading rebounder on the team and in the SEC with 10.1 a game. He also was the team's second leading shot blocker (tied for 8th in SEC) with 1.2 blocks per game and became only the 17th player in program history to reach 500 points during a season.
Jackson, a 6-foot-2 freshman from Detroit, Michigan, led the No. 9-ranked Lady Bulldogs to their third SEC championship game and was the team's (7th in SEC) leading scorer with 15.1 points a game and the team's 3rd leading rebounder (5.1), shot blocker (20) and free throw percentage (.724). She bested teammate Jessika Carter and Delta State's senior forward Quantesha Patterson for the award. This is the sixth year in a row that an MSU Lady Bulldog has won the award.
Lady Bulldogs head coach Vic Schaefer said Jackson is only the second freshman to win the Gillom award. "I've seen Rickea do things in basketball that I've never seen a player do in my 35 years of coaching," Schaefer said. "She's really an incredible player and does it on all three levels against our opponents' best defender and athlete."
For the seventh time in the awards' history, Mississippi hoops fans voted for their favorite players for the C Spire Howell and Gillom Trophies. Fan voting counted for a weighted 10 percent of the awards total. Perry won the fan vote for the men's award and Jackson topped the women's fan vote with a record of nearly 24,000 votes cast.
"Reggie's understanding and feel for the game is one of the key reasons why he is so special," said Mississippi State head basketball coach Ben Howland, noting that Perry is only the second McDonald's All-American to play for the Bulldogs in program history.
Howland said Perry, who led the U.S. 19 and under basketball team to the Gold medal in Greece last summer and was named MVP of the tournament, is the key reason why Mississippi State achieved its third 20-win season in a row. "I will probably never have a chance to coach a player as good as Reggie again in my career," he added.
The C Spire Howell Trophy is named after Bailey Howell, a two-time All American at Mississippi State University and a six-time NBA All-Star who played on Boston Celtics world championship teams in 1968 and 1969. Howell, a 1977 inductee to the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and the first male Mississippi player inducted in the National Basketball Hall of Fame, still holds nearly a dozen season and career records at Mississippi State University.
The C Spire Gillom Trophy is named after Abbeville, Miss. native Peggy Gillom-Granderson, Ole Miss' all-time leading scorer and rebounder. She has coached in the WNBA and the Olympics and retired in 2009 as associate head coach of the Lady Rebels basketball team.
"There's definitely some NBA and WNBA-caliber talent among this year's C Spire Howell and Gillom Trophy award winners and finalists," said Jim Richmond, vice president of Marketing for C Spire. "This has been another great year in terms of individual performance and overall leadership among basketball teams in our state," he added, noting that several of the teams led by this year's award finalists are headed to post-season play.
2020 marks the 25th anniversary of the Outstanding Player Awards presentation. C Spire has served as title sponsor for 23 of those years since 1998. The Conerly Trophy in college football, the Howell Trophy in men's college basketball, the Gillom Trophy in women's college basketball and the Ferriss Trophy in college baseball comprise the four elements of the C Spire Outstanding Player Award series.
Richard Williams, the former MSU men's head basketball coach and the second most successful coach in school history, was the featured guest speaker, subbing for an ailing Van Chancellor, former NCAA, WNBA, Ole Miss and Naismith, Women's and Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame coaching legend.
About C Spire
C Spire is a leading technology company committed to transforming its service areas through the C Spire Tech Movement initiative, which includes broadband deployment, technology innovation and workforce development. The company provides world-class, customer-inspired wireless communications, 1 Gigabit consumer Internet access as well as a full suite of dedicated Internet, wireless, IP Voice, data and cloud services for businesses. This news release and other announcements are available at www.cspire.com/news. For more information about C Spire, visit www.cspire.com or follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cspire or Twitter at www.twitter.com/cspire.
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