Five Southeastern Conference student-athletes are among the 20 finalists – 10 men and 10 women – for the 2013 Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar Award. The finalists were chosen from more than 500 outstanding minority student-athletes nominated by their respective institutions. The winners will be profiled in the April 11, 2013 edition of Diverse: Issues In Higher Education.
The SEC student-athletes who were selected as finalists include Laurence Bowers (Missouri), Twany Beckham (Kentucky), Christopher Burnette (Georgia), Kastine Evans (Kentucky) and Joel Kight (Ole Miss).
To be included, students have to compete in an intercollegiate sport; maintain a cumulative grade-point average of at least 3.2; and are active on their campuses or in their communities. This year the NCAA partnered with Diverse to present this standout class of scholar athletes and over 500 male and female students from across the country were nominated.
Past recipients of the award include: Baylor University’s (2011) Robert Griffin III, Heisman Trophy winner; the University of Tennessee’s (2003) Kara Lawson, ESPN analyst who played for the WNBA’s Sacramento Monarchs; San Diego State University’s (1993) Marshall Faulk, NFL Hall of Famer; and the University of Kansas’ (1996) Jaque Vaughn, assistant coach for the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs.
Men’s 2013 Finalists
Andrew Nunez, Baseball, Caldwell
Laurence Bowers, Men’s Basketball, Missouri
Ryan Evans, Men’s Basketball, Wisconsin
Twany Beckham, Men’s Basketball, Kentucky
Christopher Burnette, Football, Georgia
Craig (Clay) Belton, Football, Findlay
Devin Hedgepeth, Football, Oklahoma State
Gernam Decena, Football, William Paterson
Joel Kight, Football, Ole Miss
Javier Balboa, Men’s Gymnastics, Iowa
Women’s 2013 Finalists
Jessica Harlee, Women’s Basketball, West Virginia
Kastine Evans, Women’s Basketball, Kentucky
Kody Burke, Women’s Basketball, N.C. State
Monique Weathers, Women’s Basketball, Benedict
Shayla Bivins, Women’s Basketball, Georgia Tech
TaKenya Nixon, Women’s Basketball, Eastern Illinois
Michelle Ikoma, Gymnastics, North Carolina
Alexandra Couzo, Women’s Soccer, Felician
Ifeatu Okafor, Track and Field, Texas Tech
Minami Yamamura, Women's Gymnastics, UC-Davis