Western Carolina women’s basketball senior center Brooke Johnson has been named as one of the 30 candidates for the Lowe’s Senior Class Award – making her one of the top seniors in the nation.
She becomes the first-ever Western Carolina student-athlete, male or female, to be nominated for this award and is the lone representative from the Southern Conference. Based on criteria focusing on the “Four C’s” of classroom, character, community and competition, the award winners will be selected by national balloting of head basketball coaches, national media and college basketball fans.
Johnson is a 2008 Preseason All-Southern Conference selection and a 2008 ESPN The Magazine District III Second Team Academic All-American. As of press time, she currently leads the Lady Catamounts averaging 11.8 points per game and ranks third in the Western Carolina career record books with 90 blocks.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the award was launched during the 2001-02 season to honor the attributes of college basketball seniors who remain committed to their university and pursue the many rewards that a senior season and complete college education brings.
The award was conceived by sportscaster Dick Enberg, who continues to serve as Honorary Chairman. It was inspired by the remarkable story of former Duke University basketball player Shane Battier, who could have been an NBA lottery pick but returned to college for his senior season and led the Blue Devils to the National Championship in 2001.
The list of 2008-09 basketball candidates for the Lowe’s Senior Class Award includes a range of universities and conferences across the country. Male award candidates represent 27 different schools; the University of Memphis, University of North Carolina (at Chapel Hill) and University of Texas (at Austin) each have two candidates. Players from 14 different conferences are among the men’s nominees. The Big 12 Conference leads the way with five candidates.
All 30 female award candidates hail from a different university. While 18 conferences are included among the list of nominees, the Big 12 Conference again landed the most with five female candidates.
“At Lowe’s, we take pride in acknowledging hard work and outstanding accomplishments both on and off the court,” said Bob Gfeller, Lowe’s senior vice president of marketing and advertising. “That commitment extends beyond our employees and customers and into the communities we serve where these student-athletes become real-life mentors. We’re thrilled to honor each candidate’s contributions and look forward to recognizing the award recipients at the men’s and women’s Final Four.”
From each of the two lists of 30 nominees, a national media committee will select 10 finalists for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award in February 2009. Those 10 names will be placed on the official ballot for a nationwide vote. In addition to voting by Division I head basketball coaches and national media, college basketball fans will also be able to submit ballots by text voting or on-line at http://www.seniorclassaward.com.