San Diego State senior guard Kelvin Davis, who returned to play while still undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments for Hodgkin's lymphoma, has been selected as the 2009 recipient of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association's Most Courageous Award.
The 6-foot-3 native of Waterbury, Conn., was diagnosed last spring, but returned to the Aztecs, appearing in eight games this season and averaging 2.5 points and 1.8 rebounds in 10.4 minutes.
``I'm humbled to have been selected for this honor,'' said Davis, who will receive the award at the Final Four in Detroit on April 6. ``I want to thank the USBWA for recognizing me and the Aztec basketball program.''
Davis felt fatigued while playing last spring and thought he might be coming down with mononucleosis. There was also a lump developing on his neck, but he didn't say anything because he didn't want to jeopardize his spot on the team.
a doctor's visit revealed Davis had cancer. He underwent 12 chemotherapy treatments over a five-month span. He was still undergoing treatment when practice began in October and it wasn't unusual for Davis to go straight from the doctor's office to the gym and spend the last 20 minutes in drills with his teammates.
``I never felt sorry for myself because I'd see people who were a whole lot worse than me,'' Davis said. ``Plus, the doctors said I had a good chance to beat it.''
Davis originally started his college career at Texas-El Paso, then transferred to College of Southern Idaho before moving on to San Diego State in 2007. He appeared in 18 games during the 2007-08 season, averaging 5.0 points and 2.7 rebounds. He is contemplating petitioning the NCAA for a sixth year of eligibility.
``He is a great example of what a person should be,'' San Diego State coach Steve Fisher said. ``He's been through a rough stretch, but there was never a whimper out of Kelvin. He's out there every day, working hard. He's an inspiration to all of us.''
The Most Courageous Award was established in 1978 and has been given annually to a player, coach, official or administrator who has demonstrated extraordinary courage reflecting honor in the sport of amateur basketball.
I player in the top 10 in his conference in points, rebounds, assists, steals, field goal percentage, 3-point field goal percentage, free throw shooting and blocked shots.
The player is Harvard guard Jeremy Lin. The 6-foot-3 junior shows up in all those statistical categories in the Ivy League: He is third in scoring (18.1), ninth in rebounding (5.3), second in assists (4.3), first in steals (2.6), 10th in blocked shots (0.6), sixth in field goal percentage (.507), 10th in free throw percentage (.745), first in made free throws (114), first in free throws attempted (153), first in 3-point percentage (.429) and ninth in total blocked shots (15).
He also had one of those games that earned him a place in Crimson history.
After spraining his ankle the night before at Princeton, Lin was ruled out of Harvard's lineup against Penn on Feb. 21. He wound up playing 34 minutes against the Quakers and scored seven points in the final 37 seconds, including a 3-pointer that broke the game's final tie. The 66-60 win was the Crimson's first at the Palestra since 1991.
NCAA GIFT: The NCAA has given $250,000 to the Division I men's basketball Final Four organizing committee in Detroit to promote preschool education. The money will go to Detroit-area neighborhood centers through the United Way's Early Learning Communities program.
The NCAA said the neighborhood hubs will train caregivers in early childhood development and provide mentoring and books for children. The first two will open this month at the Shurly Family Learning Center in Detroit's Brightmoor neighborhood and at Southwest Solutions in southwest Detroit. Two more centers are planned for 2010.
The Final Four will be at Detroit's Ford Field on April 4-6.
FAMILY REQUEST: The family of John Wooden has a request for his many fans: Please stop sending items for the 98-year-old coaching great to autograph.
Wooden, who led UCLA to a record 10 national championships, is recovering from pneumonia that put him in the hospital.
Nan Muehlhausen, Wooden's daughter, said the family appreciates the support and respect of fans across the country, but certain steps need to be taken.
``The amount of mail Dad receives on a daily basis is just overwhelming, and that doesn't include the items sent to the basketball office at UCLA,'' Muehlhausen said in a statement released by the school. ``Dad would try to sign every item if he could, but the number of items he is receiving has increased greatly in the last few months.
``Dad is 98 years old and we believe that signing his name for hours on end on a daily basis is not in his best interest.''
already been mailed or shipped to Wooden will be returned to the sender.
Wooden, who retired in 1975, spent time in the hospital a year ago after breaking his left wrist and collarbone in a fall at his home.
BARE BEARS: A seven-game losing streak prompted Baylor coach Scott Drew to remove players' names from their jerseys.
``It was just the team getting together and finding a couple of different things we could focus on,'' Drew said. ``We really wanted to focus on playing for Baylor.
``We lost seven in a row and we needed to get back to basics.''
The first game without the names was a 73-57 loss to Texas.
Drew said he has not decided whether to leave the names off for the rest of the season.
USBWA HALL OF FAME: Rick Bozich of the Louisville Courier-Journal, Gary McCann of The Herald of Rock Hill, S.C., and the late Pete Axthelm of Newsweek and ESPN have been selected as the newest members of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association's Hall of Fame.
The three will be inducted at the Final Four in Detroit, on April 6.
Axthelm died in 1991 at the age of 47.
Bozich is in his 31st year at the Louisville Courier-Journal and Times. He replaced USBWA Hall of Fame member Dick Fenlon as sports columnist at the Times in 1981 and became a Courier-Journal columnist in 1986. He has covered 27 of the last 28 Final Fours and seven NCAA championship teams at Kentucky, Louisville and Indiana.
Record in 1981 before leaving to replace the legendary Bob Hammel as sports editor at the Bloomington, Ind., Herald-Times in 1996.

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