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March 28, 2007

USC Coach Dave Odom has had one Chip Hilton Award winner in Tim Duncan and he might be on the cusp of picking up his second. Four of the nation’s premier basketball players and four outstanding coaches have been named finalists for the prestigious Chip Hilton and Clair Bee Awards, to be presented by Chip Hilton Sports and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame at the Final Four in Atlanta, April 2, 2007. And USC’s Tre’ Kelley is one of the finalist for the Chip Hilton Award! Kelley was named the 2007 Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award winner today.

“It is an honor to be a finalist for an award like the Chip Hilton Award,” said Kelley. “I am extremely impressed with those that have won it before this season.”

“We were notified this morning about the Chip Hilton Award,” said Odom. “A great deal of work has gone into nominating Tre’ Kelley for this award. The Chip Hilton Award will be announced Monday as well, and Tre’ is a finalist for that. There are three other players up for this award. There are some pretty good names there. There is a human side to this one. Obviously, Chip Hilton, the fictitious basketball player with a lot of human elements to his life. The package that we sent in depicts Tre’ as a basketball player, but it also tells the stories that many of you have reported during his four years here. We are also pulling very strongly that Tre’ when the Chip Hilton Award, but even if he did not, to put him in that kind of company speaks volumes about his personal aside, as well as his basketball achievements.”

Kelley led South Carolina in scoring this season at nearly 19 points per game and led the SEC in league games with more than 21 points per game. He scored 20+ points in 13 games and averaged over 5 assists per game. He scored almost 1,500 points and had over 500 assists for his career which was third all-time at South Carolina. This season he was named to the All-SEC first team for both the coaches and the AP. Kelley is the school record in games played and games started in a season (38) and finished second all-time in games played (134). He scored a school-record 36 points at Kentucky in February.

Chip Hilton Sports and the Basketball Hall of Fame began presenting the awards in 1997 as a way to honor outstanding excellence and character in college basketball during the past season.

The Selection Committee is composed of: Jay Bilas, Dave Gavitt, Bob Hammel, Bob Knight, Pete Newell, Billy Packer, Dean Smith, Dick Vitale, and Kevin Weiberg.

The Chip Hilton Player of the Year Award honors a senior Division I men’s player for demonstrating outstanding character, leadership, and talent similar to the qualities evident in the 24-book Chip Hilton sports fiction series. The books authored by Clair Bee enjoyed their first popularity in the late 1940s through the mid-1960s and were updated and re-released to a new generation of readers in 1999.

The Clair Bee Coach of the Year Award honors a Division I men’s basketball coach who through his actions on and off the court, makes an outstanding contribution to the sport of college basketball. The criteria for this award involves actions that inspire, motivate, coach and educate their teams to achieve their fullest potential and demonstrate outstanding character.

Coach Clair F. Bee, the late Long Island University coach and Hall of Famer, compiled an .826 lifetime winning percentage, still the best in major-college coaching history. Known as the “Innovator”, Clair Bee’s influence on the game also extended to strategies, (1-3-1 zone defense), (3-second rule), sports camps (Camp All-America), (Kutsher’s Sports Academy), writing technical coaching books, and conducting coaching clinics around the world.

By the time he left coaching in the 1950s, Clair Bee had already begun writing the Chip Hilton Sports Series, which are considered the top sports fiction series ever written.

The list of coaching finalists for the Clair Bee Award are:

Tony Bennett Washington State University

Bo Ryan University of Wisconsin

Scott Sutton Oral Roberts University

John Thompson III Georgetown University

The list of player finalists for the Chip Hilton Award are:

Adam Haluska University of Iowa

Tre’ Kelley University of South Carolina

Acie Law IV Texas A&M University

Alando Tucker University of Wisconsin

Last season’s Chip Hilton Award winner was of Gerry McNamara of Syracuse. Jim Larranaga of George Mason was the 2006 Clair Bee Award winner.