Nov. 19, 2002
LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. - Senior forward Gunta Basko (Olanie, Latvia/Riga Secondary #3) was selected as a candidate for the second annual Senior CLASS Award, the award's organizing committee announced on Tuesday.
The award is presented annually to the nation's senior player-of-the-year for NCAA Division I men's and women's basketball. The inaugural award winners were Juan Dixon of Maryland and Sue Bird of Connecticut.
Basko, a 2002-2003 tri-captain, was honored as a District II Kodak All-American as a junior. That same year, she became the third player to be named MAAC Player of the Year twice. She has risen into the top-10 all-time in scoring and top-5 in rebounding at Siena and was named the MAAC Preseason Player of the Year this season.
The list of women's "Players to Watch" include representatives from 15 conferences, eight of which have multiple players on the list.
The formation of the Senior CLASS Award - an acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School - was announced during last season's college basketball season. The CLASS Award was developed in response to the recent trend of college basketball players leaving college early to turn professional.
Selection criteria is based on a number of factors, the most important being that the recipient must have exhausted their four years of eligibility and have fulfilled their commitment to their respective university. In addition, the recipient must be working toward their degree, be in good academic standing and be of sound moral character.
The performances of the "Players to Watch" for both men and women will be tracked during the season. From that pool of players, a national committee of sportscasters and sportswriters who cover college basketball on the Division I level will select 10 Finalists.
The names of these Finalists will appear on the official ballot during the national voting process in March. The selection of the men's and women's award winner will be based on the cumulative ballots of the national media committee and Division I college basketball coaches. The winner will be announced during the respective NCAA Final Four events in March.