Photo courtesy Ole Miss Athletics
University of Mississippi point guard Breein Tyree, one of the best players in the SEC this year, and Mississippi State University's Teaira McCowan, one of the top female player in the nation, won the fan voting portion of the 2019 C Spire Howell and Gillom Trophies, which annually honor the top male and female college basketball players in Mississippi. The result of the vote was announced Saturday.
Tyree, a junior from Somerset, New Jersey, received 3,937 votes from fans, which counts for a weighted 10 percent of the award. Mississippi State senior guard Quinndary Weatherspoon, who won the award in 2018, finished a close second with 3,328 votes and University of Southern Mississippi senior guard Cortez Edwards, a two-time finalist, finished third with 342 votes.
McCowan, a senior from Brenham, Texas, SEC player of the year and a Naismith Award finalist, received 1,222 votes while teammates Jordan Danberry and Anriel Howard, finished second and third, respectively with 425 and 293 votes. McCowan, a two-time finalist, led the SEC with 13.4 rebounds per game and was fifth in scoring with 17.3 points per game this year.
Over 9,500 votes were cast by fans online for the six finalists during the six-day fan voting period, the third highest total since fan voting was allowed in basketball the first time in 2014. Finalists and the ultimate award winners are chosen by fans and a statewide panel of media who cover college basketball in Mississippi. This year's overall winners for both trophies will be announced at a special awards luncheon on Monday, March 11 in Jackson, Miss.
Tyree is the only player in the SEC this year to place in the top 10 in scoring, free throw percentage, field goal percentage, and three pointers made. He is tied for second in scoring with Weatherspoon (18.4 ppg), sixth in free throw percentage (83 %), sixth in field goal percentage (47.7%) and seventh in three pointers made (39.6% or 2.2 per game).
The C Spire Howell Trophy is named after Bailey Howell, a two-time All American at Mississippi State University 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 season and career records at Mississippi State University.
The C Spire Gillom Trophy is named after Abbeville, Miss. native Peggy Gillom-Granderson, UM's all-time leading scorer and rebounder. She has coached in the WNBA and the Olympics and retired in 2009 as associate head coach of the Lady Rebels basketball team.
Limited tickets starting at $40 each are still available for Monday's awards luncheon at MSHOF offices and online. For more information, call 601.982.8264. Former NCAA and NBA coach Tim Floyd, son of legendary USM head basketball coach Lee Floyd, will be the featured guest speaker. Coaches and finalists for both awards are expected to attend the luncheon, which starts at 11:30 a.m.
2019 marks the 24th anniversary of the Outstanding Player Awards presentation. C Spire has served as title sponsor for 22 of those years since 1998. The Conerly Trophy in college football, the Howell Trophy in men's college basketball, the Gillom Trophy in women's college basketball and the Ferriss Trophy in college baseball comprise the four elements of the C Spire Outstanding Player Award series.