« Women’s Basketball 2008-09

Courtney Paris

School

University of Oklahoma

Position
Center
Major
Journalism
PPG
15.7
RPG
13.6
APG
1.7
Courtney Paris Winner

Classroom

Courtney Paris is on pace to graduate with a Bachelor’s in journalism in the spring of 2009.  Paris was an Academic All-Big 12 Conference member last year (3.0 GPA or better) and was eligible for ESPN the Magazine/CoSIDA Academic All-America consideration.  Paris is consistently one of the top students among a team that has some of the highest academic standards at Oklahoma.  Under head coach Sherri Coale’s watch, the women’s basketball team has recorded a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better in 22 of the past 24 semesters.

Character

Paris is a firm believer in the “team first” concept and uses it as a driving force in her work on and off the basketball court.  Despite setting numerous NCAA records and receiving several honors, Paris has repeatedly stated that her reason for coming to the University of Oklahoma was to maintain its family atmosphere and build a legacy of a championship-winning basketball program.  She believes her goals as a student-athlete will not be achieved if, No. 1, she does not receive a degree and, No. 2, if she cannot lead her team to a Final Four. Her efforts as a tireless team builder have not gone unnoticed outside of the basketball arena either.  Paris’ example offered her the opportunity to be selected as one of the featured presenters of the inaugural Gaylord Prize, an honor that will be bestowed by OU’s Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication to a nationally-recognized professional with the highest standards of excellence.

Community

Paris is involved with numerous community service programs.  Although her favorites are working with the Special Olympics and Sooner Big Sis’ program—where members of OU’s women’s basketball team visit an elementary school class weekly throughout the year—she is involved with countless others.  This year, she and her teammates will serve as child advocates at the Mary Abbott Children’s House, the area’s child abuse response center, where they will act as companions and role models to victims of physical and sexual abuse.  Since arriving at OU, Paris has participated in numerous initatives with local organizations, including Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Habitat for Humanity, OU Children’s Hospital, Special Spectators and Meals on Wheels.  Paris and her sister, Ashley, are also regular speakers at their local church and FCA meetings. Courtney has also kept a personal touch with the women’s basketball fan base by using her writing skills to produce a blog for SoonerSports.com, a feature that has been recognized and carried worldwide at times by ESPN.com and, this season, by the Associated Press.

Competition

Paris owns over a dozen NCAA and nearly 50 Big 12 Conferencewomen’s basketball records, including the renowned consecutive games with a double-double streak that stood at 92 to begin the 2008-09 season.  A three-time consensus first team All-American and two-time Big 12 Player of the Year, Paris has been a finalist for the Wade Trophy the past two seasons and for the Wooden Award and Naismith Award the past three.  In 2007, Paris was named the Associated Press Women’s Basketball Player of the Year.  She began her senior season as just the sixth player in history to earn a unanimous vote to the AP’s Preseason All-America team.  She is the only player in NCAA history to record a season with 700 points, 500 rebounds and 100 blocks—a feat she has accomplished twice—and is on pace to become the NCAA’s career leader in rebounds and the Big 12’s career leader in points scored.  Courtney was recently named one of 20 midseason candidates for the John R. Wooden Award.  She was also added to the 2008-09 Naismith Trophy midseason candidate list in an announcement by the Atlanta Tipoff Club.