The finalists for the awards presented to Mississippi’s top college basketball players have been announced.
Beginning with the Gillom Trophy, which is awarded annually to the most outstanding women’s basketball player in the state, the three finalists are Angel Baker of Ole Miss, Jessika Carter of Mississippi State, and Dominique Davis of Southern Miss.
Baker, a senior guard, is averaging 15.2 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game. Ole Miss (21-7, 10-5 Southeastern Conference) sits in fourth place in the SEC and is projected by ESPN as a 7 seed going into the upcoming NCAA Tournament.
Carter, a senior forward, is averaging 14.8 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 2.2 blocks per game for Mississippi State (20-8, 9-6 SEC), who currently sits one game behind Ole Miss in the conference standings. The Bulldogs are a projected 9 seed for the NCAA Tournament.
Davis, a junior guard, is averaging 17.8 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 3.4 assists per game for Southern Miss (20-9, 13-5 Sun Belt). While not currently projected to make the NCAA Tournament, the Golden Eagles are going into the Sun Belt tournament with a double-bye, which means just three wins would result in an automatic postseason bid.
Moving along to the Howell Trophy, awarded each year to the most outstanding men’s basketball player in the state, the three finalists are Tolu Smith of Mississippi State, Austin Crowley of Southern Miss, and Matthew Murrell of Ole Miss.
Smith, a senior forward, is averaging 15 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game. Mississippi State (19-10, 7-9 SEC), prior to a big win over No. 25 Texas A&M Saturday, was projected by ESPN as one of the final four teams to receive an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Crowley, a junior guard, is averaging 16.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per game for Southern Miss (25-6, 14-4 Sun Belt). The Golden Eagles, who recently secured their first regular season conference championship since 2001, are not currently projected to make the NCAA Tournament, but with a strong showing in the Sun Belt tournament, that could easily change.
Murrell, a junior guard, is averaging 14.6 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game for Ole Miss (11-18, 3-13 SEC). Without winning the conference tournament, the NCAA Tournament is out of the picture for the Rebels.
Both the Gillom and the Howell Trophies will be awarded on March 6 at the Golden Moon Casino at Pearl River Resort.
About the Gillom & Howell Trophies
The Gillom Trophy is named after Peggie Gillom-Granderson, Ole Miss’ all-time leading scorer and rebounder. She coached in the WNBA and the Olympics and retired after a seven-year stint as associate head coach of the women’s basketball team at Ole Miss.
The Howell Trophy is named after Bailey Howell, a two-time All-American at Mississippi State 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 records at Mississippi State.