April 01, 2007

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Announcement of Nation’s Premier Award for Seniors Made by Lowe’s and
CBS During NCAA Men’s Final Four Telecast

(Atlanta, GA) – Described by his coach as a college basketball player that “epitomizes the pure student athlete,” Wisconsin forward Alando Tucker is the 2006-07 winner of the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award for 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 in response to the growing trend of basketball players leaving school early for the NBA, helped make the announcement between the two semi-finals games. 
Tucker put together a brilliant senior season at Wisconsin, earning Big Ten Player of the Year honors in a powerhouse conference that was among the nation’s toughest.  He averaged 19.9 points and 5.4 rebounds per game while leading the Badgers to a 30-6 record and top ten national ranking.  By pouring in a school-record 716 points as a senior, Tucker became Wisconsin’s all-time leading career scorer with 2,217 points.
While he clearly excelled on the court, Tucker also has exemplified the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award off-the-court criteria with character, the classroom and the community.  The communications major has a 3.5 GPA in his major and expects to graduate in May 2007.  He serves as the men’s basketball representative on the Wisconsin’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and was the school’s delegate to the NCAA Student-Athlete Leadership Conference last year. 
Tucker frequently visits elementary schools in Madison, WI and his hometown of Joliet, IL and has served as a mentor to kids at his local community center.  One of his life goals is to build community centers in underprivileged neighborhoods, starting with his hometown, because he started playing basketball at a neighborhood community center.

“I am honored to receive this prestigious award and be mentioned with all the distinguished past winners,” Tucker said.  “I pride myself in being a well-rounded student- athlete, succeeding on and off the court, and I am thankful that the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award recognizes that. With this being my senior year, I hope that I have provided a good example for my teammates at the University of Wisconsin to follow.”
Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan added, “In my 35 years of coaching, I have never had a player who epitomized the pure student-athlete better than Alando Tucker. His leadership and work ethic put him in a class by himself. This is a very deserving honor.”
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 classroom, character and community, as well as the candidate’s performance on the court. 
“This is an extremely exciting time of year for us at Lowe’s because awarding the Senior CLASS Award is about so much more than honoring talented athletes,” said Bob Gfeller, SVP of Marketing and Advertising at Lowe’s. “The Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award is about acknowledging hard-working students who embody the spirit of their communities.  Alando has set a great example for us as he reflects on the goals he has accomplished and the promising future ahead of him.”

Tucker is the sixth winner of the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award and the first from a Big Ten school.  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), Wayne Simien of Kansas (2005) and J.J. Reddick of Duke (2006).
The award was inspired by the remarkable 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 national championship in 2001 and earned his degree.
The Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award also names an All-Senior All-America Team each year based on voting results of the finalists.  Joining Tucker on the 2006-07 First Team is:  Acie Law of Texas A&M, Adam Haluska of Iowa, Curtis Sumpter of Villanova and Nick Fazekas of Nevada.  The Second Team is Aaron Gray of Pittsburgh, Jared Dudley of Boston College, Anthony Tolliver of Creighton, Jarrius Jackson of Texas Tech and J.R. Reynolds of Virginia.
Lowe’s, an official Corporate Partner of the NCAA, has expanded the Senior CLASS Award program this year to include NCAA Division I men’s hockey, men’s lacrosse, baseball and softball in addition to men’s and women’s basketball.  The winner in each sport will be announced at the respective NCAA Championship events.