Delle Donne, Lee Named Senior CLASS Finalists
Delaware women's basketball player Elena Delle Donne and Northeastern men's basketball player Jonathan Lee have been named finalists for the prestigious Senior CLASS Award. Delle Donne and Lee are among 20 national finalists (10 men/10 women) for the award, which recognizes student-athletes who excel both on and off the court.
To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence - community, classroom, character and competition. The complete list of finalists follows this release.
Through 15 games played this season, Delle Donne has averaged 25.3 points, 8.6 rebounds, 2.3 blocks, 2.1 three-pointers and 1.6 assists per contest for the 20th-ranked Blue Hens. She has registered a 50.8 three-point shooting percentage in addition to shooting 92.3 percent from the free throw line this season.
Delle Donne is just 30 points away from breaking the CAA's all-time scoring record. The forward has posted 2,638 points through her four years at Delaware while James Madison's Dawn Evans collected 2,667 from 2007-11.
In the classroom, Delle Donne carries a 3.63 cumulative grade point average, is a consistent Dean's List student and was named the 2012 Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-American of the Year for women's basketball. She was also named the 2012 CAA Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year and the 2012 CAA Women's Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Additionally, she is a four-time member of the CAA Academic Honor Roll.
Delle Donne earned the 2012 Honda Inspiration Award in recognition of commitment and courage in the face of adversity and overcoming hardship while excelling in her sport.
She is extremely active in numerous Delaware team community service activities, including visits to A.I. DuPont Children's Hospital and work with Delaware Special Olympics.Lee is a dedicated, consistent student who has achieved in the classroom and is on pace to earn a bachelor of fine arts degree in graphic design. One of the most involved student-athletes at Northeastern, he has participated in countless youth clinics and service organizations, working with disadvantaged youth in local Boston neighborhoods, and is one of the most vocal supporters of fellow student-athletes. In the fall, the campus community voted him Northeastern's 2012 Homecoming King.
His playing career has flourished as a result of his unquestioned work ethic and resolve. Lee played in 12 games and averaged just four minutes per game as a freshman. Last season, as a junior, he started all 31 games and averaged better than 35 minutes per game to rank fourth in the CAA.
A native of Flint., Mich., his life has been a lesson in perseverance. That proved true again this fall when, entering his senior season, he suffered the first major injury of his college career. After undergoing surgery for a foot injury, the preseason All-CAA first team selection, missed the first nine games of the season. But with sheer determination, he roared back and wasted little time reasserting himself as one of the CAA's premier players. He has started every game since returning to the line-up and the Huskies have responded, racing to a surprising 10-1 conference start. Statistically, he ranks in the CAA in six different categories, and is in the top five in the CAA in assists (first), assist-to-turnover ratio (second), 3-point field goal percentage (fifth), and minutes played (fifth).
"We are extremely excited for Jon and proud that he is receiving this recognition," said head coach Bill Coen. "Jon possesses a tireless work ethic and provides our team with tremendous leadership, both on and off the court. He is involved in the community, is well liked throughout our campus, and has achieved in the classroom. He is a true ambassador for our program and our university."
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.
The finalists were chosen by a media committee from the list of 30 men's candidates and 30 women's candidates announced in October. Nationwide fan voting begins immediately to help select the winner. Fans are encouraged to vote on the Senior CLASS Award website or on the Senior CLASS Award Facebook fan page through March 25. Fan votes will be combined with media and Division I head coaches' votes to determine the winner.
The men's Senior CLASS Award winner will be announced during the 2013 NCAA Final Four in Atlanta April 6 and 8, while the women's winner will be announced during the NCAA Women's Final Four in New Orleans April 7 and 9.
For more information on all the finalists, visit seniorCLASSaward.com.
Matthew Dellavedova, Saint Mary's
Mike Groselle, The Citadel
Jordan Hulls, Indiana
Jonathan Lee, Northeastern
C.J. McCollum, Lehigh
Mike Muscala, Bucknell
Mason Plumlee, Duke
Peyton Siva, Louisville
Andrew Smith, Butler
Marc Trasolini, Santa Clara
Brittany Chambers, Kansas State
Layshia Clarendon, California
Elena Delle Donne, Delaware
Skylar Diggins, Notre Dame
Jacqui Kalin, Northern Iowa
Kevi Luper, Oral Roberts
Anna Martin, DePaul
Drey Mingo, Purdue
Chelsea Poppens, Iowa State
Jaime Printy, Iowa
About the award
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Senior CLASS Award honors the attributes of senior student-athletes in four areas: community, classroom, character and competition. The award program is designed exclusively for college seniors who are utilizing their complete athletic eligibility, remaining committed to their university and pursuing the many rewards a senior season can bring. Premier Sports Management manages the award.