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April 21, 2004

Senior captain Mike Boynton, Jr. was named the Frank McGuire Most Valuable Player and the Outstanding Defensive Player and sophomore Tarence Kinsey was named the Most Improved Player at USC’s annual basketball banquet at the Colonial Center this week. All six seniors spoke about their experience and presented USC Head Coach Dave Odom with a ball for being name SEC Coach of the Year.

The Gamecocks, 23-11 this year, made it the semi-finals of the SEC Tournament and played in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1998.

The following are the list of award winners. Also below are brief write-ups on each senior.

The Best Free Throw Shooter Award went to Rolando Howell. Shooting 77 percent this season, a few of his top games this year included: 8 of 12 against Mississippi State, 7 of 8 against Florida and 8-10 in the win over Vanderbilt.

The award for Most Assists was given to Mike Boynton, Jr. This senior led the team this year with 115 assists, including 57 in SEC play. He finished his career with 255 assists.

The winner of the Most Outstanding Rebounder Award was Carlos Powell. He pulled down 212 rebounds this year. He almost doubled his rebound totals a year ago with 66 offensive and 146 defensive rebounds. He is the first Gamecock since 1989 to lead the team in both rebounds and points per game. He has 507 total rebounds with hopes of adding to that total his senior year.

The winner of the Dr. Charlie Crews Strength and Conditioning Award for all his dedication and hard work in the weight room was John Chappell.

The winner of the SHAD HAMILTON OUTSTANDING MANAGER AWARD was senior manager Hall Beard. A native of Easley, S.C., he has been a manager at USC for four years, including three years under Odom’s direction.

The winner of the Buck Freeman Sportsmanship Award was IVAN HOWELL. Already a USC graduate, he gave so unselfishly of himself this year both on and off the court. Always willing to help his teammates out with a quick tip and a smile, he knew his role and accepted it well.

The winner of the Award for Academic Excellence was John Chappell. When he graduates next year, he will have received not just one degree, but three degrees. He carries a 3.89 GPA and has been a member of the Dean’s List four times and the President’s List once. He was just one of two from the SEC to be named to the All-District Academic All-American team.

Dave Odom presented the Gamecock Sixth Man Service Award to Senior Women’s Administrator Laurie Massa who will depart at the end of this month to take over as the Athletic Director at John Carroll University in Cleveland.

The Outstanding Defensive Player Award winner was Mike Boynton, Jr. Playing tough defense is taking charges: he led the team with 23 this season; stealing the ball – he tied for the team lead with Josh Gonner with 44. It’s hustling down the court after your team has scored and getting in position for turnovers, blocks, just flat out putting your heart and sole on the floor – Mike did all those things – he even blocked four shots this season.

The Most Improved Player Award winner was Tarence Kinsey. This wasn’t an easy one to select because the coaches saw so many players step up their game this year, improve their shot selection, their rebounding – they all worked hard in the off-season in every phase of their game to make sure USC was a winner. This player in particular stepped up to Coach Odom’s personal challenge – he worked out in the weight room at 6 am every day last summer. He would then go shoot in the gym for hours at a time, working on each part of his game. His hard work did pay off – he averaged 8.3 points and 3.2 rebounds per game. He was named the MVP of the South Carolina Guardians Classic Region and then the MVP of the Guardians Classic a week later.

The winner of the Frank McGuire Most Valuable Player Award was Mike Boynton, Jr. he set the school record for most games played, was named the USC male co-athlete of the year, won the SEC post-graduate community service award and was also named to the SEC All-Tournament team.

Coach Odom also called the following up for Special Recognition Awards:

Renaldo Balkan

* SEC All-Freshman Team

John Chappell

* SEC Good Works Team for Community Service

* All-District Academic All-American (3.89 GPA)

Carlos Powell

* Third Team All-SEC (AP)

* Scored 1001 point against Memphis

Mike Boynton, Jr. — captain

* Set school record for most games played at 125

* SEC Post-Graduate Community Service Award ($5000)

* USC Co-Male Athlete of the Year

* SEC All-Tournament team

The six seniors were also saluted and they each gave heart-felt talks about their USC experiences. There wasn’t a dry eye in the Center when they finished. The seniors are as follows:

* Hall Beard has been a manager for the team for the past four years. A Sport Management Major, he is the captain of the managers this season. It’s his hard work behind the scene that helped the Gamecocks look their best.

* No 20 Sheldon Everett is the second senior. Sheldon, a native of Lexington, S.C., who transferred to Carolina after a year at Lander College, it has always been his dream to play for the Garnet and Black. He helped the Gamecocks prepare for every game with his steady play on the scout team. He played in 19 games during his USC career and hit his first collegiate three-pointer this year against Charleston Southern.

* No. 4 IVAN HOWELL is the third senior. A native of Columbia, S.C., and a graduate of Lower Richland High School, he graduated in December with a degree in Retailing. He played in 56 games and started his first career game on senior night. He averaged 1.9 points and .7 rebounds a game in the Gamecock uniform. Self-titled ‘the guy at the end of the bench’, Ivan’s contributions to the team as the coaches extra eyes have been immeasurable this season.

* No. 32 Kerbrell Brown came to Columbia from New Orleans, via Dodge City Community College last season. He averaged 8.1 and 4.0 rebounds per game during his two-year stay. It’s hard to say what his highlight of the season was this year: was it the key rebound that sealed the win over NC State, the three-pointer he made late in the game to push the game to overtime and an eventual win over Alabama or the tip-in that won the game at Vanderbilt? He played in 60 games, starting 43 for USC.

* No. 55 Rolando Howell is the fifth senior. Ro scored 960 points, had 592 boards with 72 blocks and 132 steals in his career. He averaged 9.5 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. Just coming into his own this season, Ro broke his wrist in the Georgia win and was forced to watch the rest of the action with a cast on his hand. Ro is from Columbia, S.C., a graduate of Lower Richland HS and the younger brother of IVAN HOWELL.

No. 30 Mike Boynton, Jr. is the sixth senior and the team captain. He came down to SC from Brooklyn, New York. A role player his first few years, he blossomed into one of the best captains to ever serve in that role. A true leader, Mike graduated in 3 and half years. He played in 125 career games, breaking the school record this season. During his career, he averaged 4.3 points and 1.5 rebounds per game with 115 career steals. His contributions to the team this year have been his play and his leadership, but who will forget the night he night he hit a career-best 6 three-pointers against Arkansas or the series sweep against Vandy, which featured 5 three-pointers. But he will go down in the history books even more importantly for playing a key role in defeating Clemson every year of his career.