March 6, 2000

NORMAN, Okla. - The University of Oklahoma men's basketball team held its annual awards banquet tonight at Lloyd Noble Center. The Sooners welcomed a floor full of fans to share in dinner, a fun-filled and occasionally emotional awards ceremony and a reflection on the regular season.

Nine awards were presented this evening and six of them were won or shared by senior All-America candidate Eduardo Najera. Najera, the Big 12's second-leading scorer and rebounder, thanked fans, teammates and the OU coaching staff throughout the awards presentation.

Oklahoma, ranked 15th in the latest AP poll (the highest ranking ever achieved by a Kelvin Sampson-coached squad), is the No. 3 seed in the upcoming Phillips 66 Big 12 Tournament in Kansas City, Mo. The Sooners earned a first-round bye and will play Friday at approximately 8:20 p.m. against the winner of Thursday's Missouri (No. 6 seed) versus Texas Tech (No. 11 seed) contest.

Following is a list of tonight's award recipients.

Student-Athlete Award:
Tim Heskett

Most Improved Player Award:
Nolan Johnson, Hollis Price

Roy Marler Most Inspirational Player Award:
Oleg Reztsov

Mr. Hustle Award:
Eduardo Najera, Renzi Stone

Leadership Award:
Eduardo Najera, Renzi Stone

Best Rebounder Award:
Eduardo Najera

Best Defensive Player Award:
Nolan Johnson, Eduardo Najera

Outstanding Senior Award:
Victor Avila, Eduardo Najera, Oleg Reztsov, Renzi Stone

Most Valuable Player Award:
Eduardo Najera