April 4, 2009
ST. LOUIS -- Oklahoma's Courtney Paris was named the winner of the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award for women's basketball at a presentation at the Scottrade Center, site of the NCAA Women's Final Four, Saturday.
The award, selected by a nationwide vote of coaches, media and fans, is presented annually to college basketball's top NCAA Division I senior student-athlete.
"I'm truly honored to receive this award and, more so, to be even mentioned with such a great group of candidates and past recipients," Paris said, "My four years at the University of Oklahoma have certainly had their ups and downs, but they have definitely made me a stronger, well-rounded person and I would not trade the time or experiences for anything.
"Getting my degree was always my ultimate goal when I first stepped on campus. I know I've set a bunch of records and done a lot of things with a basketball, but I've always been a journalism student first and I'm very proud to be a graduate."
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.
|Paris Accepts CLASS Award | Photo Gallery | OU in St. Louis | NCAA Central|
"Courtney Paris has proven to be one of the greatest women's college basketball players of all-time, yet she worked equally as hard in the classroom and gave her time to the local community," said Bob Gfeller, senior vice president of marketing and advertising at Lowe's. "Her overall college experience was one of tremendous impact both on and off the court. The Lowe's Senior CLASS Award has developed into a wonderful tribute for college student-athletes and, on behalf of the 225,000 associates at Lowe's, we salute Courtney for a tremendous collegiate career at Oklahoma."
Paris is the eighth winner of the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award for women's basketball. Past recipients of the women's award include Sue Bird of Connecticut (2002), LaToya Thomas of Mississippi State (2003), Alana Beard of Duke (2004), Kendra Wecker of Kansas State (2005), Seimone Augustus of LSU (2006), Alison Bales of Duke (2007) and Candice Wiggins of Stanford.
As a senior, Paris has led the Sooners to their second Final Four in school history and, in the process, has carved her name among the legends of women's basketball. She has become the first player ever to be named Associate Press All-American all four years of college. A three-time Big 12 Player of the Year, Paris has set 18 NCAA records and is the top rebounder in women's basketball history.
In the classroom, Paris has been recognized as an Academic All-Big 12 selection for maintaining a 3.0 or higher GPA. She will graduate with honors this spring with a degree in journalism.
The announcement of the award winners is made on national television during coverage of the men's and women's NCAA Final Four. CBS Sports airs a special segment on the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award, including the trophy presentation of the men's award, during the Bridge Show between the two semi-final games of the men's tournament.