Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Sports News

Illini wrap up 2011-12 season at 90th annual basketball banquet

Freshman Abrams named team MVP

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[April 11, 2012]  URBANA -- A sellout crowd of 500 attended the 90th annual Illinois Men's Basketball Banquet on Tuesday evening, an event once again sponsored by the Champaign-Urbana Kiwanis Club.

Freshman Tracy Abrams earned team MVP honors, as voted on by his teammates. Abrams played in all 32 games and took over the role as starting point guard midway through the season. The rookie started 19 times and averaged 4.3 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.9 assists on the year. Abrams becomes the first true freshman to receive Illinois MVP accolades and the first freshman since Cory Bradford was named team MVP during his redshirt freshman season in 1999.

Junior Brandon Paul collected three awards, winning the Matt Heldman "Matto" Award for having the highest season-long total in a number of hustle statistics, the Ralf Woods Free Throw Trophy for leading the team with 74.8 percent shooting from the free-throw line in Big Ten play, and the Lou Henson Award, given to the player who takes the most charges on the year. Paul received both the Matto Award and Woods Free Throw Trophy for the second consecutive season.

Sophomore Meyers Leonard claimed two awards, receiving Most Improved Player, as voted on by the coaches, and the Illini Rebounders Award, for leading the Orange and Blue with an average of 8.2 boards.

Junior D.J. Richardson won the Orange Krush 3-Point Award for leading the Illini with 71 3-point baskets, while sophomore Joseph Bertrand received the 6th-Man Award as chosen by the staff.

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Receiving special recognition at the banquet were seniors Sam Maniscalco and Jean Selus. Maniscalco won the Kenny Battle Most Inspirational Player Award, as selected by his teammates.

2011-12 Fighting Illini basketball awards:

  • Illini Rebounders Award: Meyers Leonard

  • Ralf Woods Free Throw Trophy: Brandon Paul

  • Orange Krush 3-Point Award: D.J. Richardson

  • 6th-Man Award: Joseph Bertrand

  • Lou Henson Courage Award: Brandon Paul

  • Matt Heldman "Matto" Award: Brandon Paul

  • Kenny Battle Most Inspirational Player: Sam Maniscalco

  • Most Improved Player: Meyers Leonard

  • Most Valuable Player: Tracy Abrams

[Text from Fighting Illini news release received from the University of Illinois]

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