North Carolina Forward Tyler Hanbrough named 2008-09 Senior CLASS Award Winner

April 04, 2009

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(Detroit, MI) – Tyler Hansbrough, last year’s college basketball player of the year who returned for his senior season at the University of North Carolina and is on track to graduate while leading his team to the Final Four, is the 2008-09 winner of the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award for NCAA men’s basketball.  The award, selected by a nationwide vote of coaches, media and fans, is presented annually to college basketball’s outstanding NCAA Division I senior student-athlete.

The announcement and trophy presentation was made today by Lowe’s and CBS during the NCAA Men’s Final Four telecast.  Dick Enberg, who first conceived the idea of an award for seniors in 2001, helped make the announcement between the two semi-final games. 

Lowe’s, an official corporate Partner of the NCAA, expanded the Senior CLASS Award program in 2007 to include NCAA Division I men’s and women’s soccer, men’s ice hockey, men’s lacrosse, baseball and softball in addition to men’s and women’s basketball.  With the addition of football (Bowl Subdivision) in 2008, the award is now presented in nine NCAA sports. 

An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award has grown into the nation’s premier tribute to college seniors.  The award identifies personal qualities that define a complete student-athlete, with criteria including excellence in the “4 C’s” of classroom, community, character and competition. 

“I consider it a real honor to win the Lowe’s Senior CLASS award because it represents more than just basketball,” Hansbrough said.  “The award cares about being a good student, a leader and a role model. I have thoroughly enjoyed my four years at the University of North Carolina. I want to thank Coach Williams and his staff and all my teammates, especially my fellow seniors Bobby Frasor, Marcus Ginyard, Danny Green and Mike Copeland. The five of us came to Chapel Hill together four years ago. We’ve had great experiences on the court and all five of us are on track to graduate. I could not have asked for a better experience.”

While his performance on the court has been well documented, Hansbrough has also excelled in the classroom and has used his status as a role model to make an impact in the local community. While working hard to graduate on time with a degree in communications studies, he has participated in numerous fundraising activities.  He was instrumental in organizing a holiday shopping spree for underprivileged children each winter.  In addition, Hansbrough helped host over 100 Special Olympians each year at a special Tar Heel basketball clinic.

After earning National Player of the Year honors in 2007-08, Hansbrough turned down the opportunity to become a first-round NBA draft pick and instead chose to return to North Carolina for his senior season.  His decision has helped lead the Tar Heels into the Final Four and stamped his name among the greatest college players ever. During his senior campaign, Hansbrough became the all-time leading scorer and rebounder in the storied history of UNC basketball.  Later in the season he broke the Atlantic Coast Conference career scoring record held by Duke’s J.J. Reddick, the 2006 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award winner.  Hansbrough is the first player in college basketball since 1985 to earn consensus first-team All-America honors three times.

“It’s certainly a great honor for Tyler to win the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award, especially because it’s an award that represents both on-the-court and off-the court achievement,” said North Carolina coach Roy Williams.  “I’ve said many times that Tyler represents many of the best things about college basketball and this award is evidence of that.”

Hansbrough is the eighth winner of the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award.  Previous winners of the men’s basketball award include Juan Dixon of Maryland (2002), David West of Xavier (2003), Jameer Nelson of St. Joseph’s (2004), Wayne Simien of Kansas (2005), J.J. Reddick of Duke (2006), Alando Tucker of Wisconsin (2007) and Shan Foster of Vanderbilt (2008).

The award was inspired by the story of former Duke star Shane Battier, who could have been an NBA lottery pick but returned to college for his senior season, led the Blue Devils to the NCAA national championship in 2001 and earned his degree.

“Tyler Hansbrough has taken a path similar to the one charted by Shane Battier, which epitomizes the core values of the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award,” said Tom Lamb, vice president of marketing at Lowe’s.  “Not only is Tyler enjoying the benefits of fulfilling his collegiate eligibility and earning his degree, but many youngsters in the community have benefitted by his work as a role model.  The Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award has developed into a wonderful tribute for college student-athletes and, on behalf of the 228,000 associates at Lowe’s, we salute Tyler for a tremendous collegiate career at North Carolina.”

The Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award also names an All-Senior All-America Team each year based on voting results of the finalists.  Joining Hansbrough on the 2008-09 First Team is: Jimmy Baron, University of Rhode Island; Jerel McNeal, Marquette University; Terrence Williams, University of Louisville; and Sam Young, University of Pittsburgh.  The second team consists of A.J. Abrams, University of Texas; Dionte Christmas, Temple University; Lester Hudson, University of Tennessee-Martin; Curtis Jerrells, Baylor University; and Andy Wicke of Belmont University.

Men’s Basketball 2008-09 Winner

Name Position School
Tyler Hansbrough Forward University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

First Team

Name Position School
Jimmy Baron Guard University of Rhode Island
Jerel McNeal Guard Marquette University
Terrence Williams Forward University of Louisville
Sam Young Forward University of Pittsburgh

Second Team

Name Position School
A.J. Abrams Guard University of Texas
Dionte Christmas Guard Temple University
Lester Hudson Guard The University of Tennessee at Martin
Curtis Jerrells Guard Baylor University
Andy Wicke Guard Belmont University