Sessums sculpts basketball trophy

Published 5:00 am Thursday, March 27, 2008

To say the least, Dr. Kim Sessums of Brookhaven had a specialhand in the Howell Trophy and the Gillom Trophy. The local OB/GYNsculpted both trophies which honor the best college basketballplayers in Mississippi.

The coveted trophies will be presented Monday, March 31, inTupelo. Sponsored by Cellular South, the lost-wax bronze trophiesare on permanent display at the Mississippi Sports Hall OF Fame andMuseum, located on Lakeland Drive, in Jackson. Each recipientreceives a duplicate trophy during the presentation ceremony.

The Howell Trophy, named in honor of Mississippi State 2-timeAll-American Bailey Howell, is being presented for the fourth time.Howell was a 6-time NBA All-Star who played for the Boston Celtics,helping them win World Championships in 1968 and 1969.

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Howell was the first male from Mississippi to be inducted intothe National Basketball Hall of Fame. He holds 11 game, season andcareer records at MSU.

At long last, the decision was made to provide an annual awardfor the top female college basketball player in Mississippi. Therehas been a long, illustrious tradition of outstanding females, somewho later played in the WNBA.

Peggie Gillom, a household name in college basketball, had arecord-setting career at Ole Miss. She still holds 10 game, seasonand career records.

An Abbeville native, Gillom served as an assistant coach in theOlympic and professional levels as well as five years as head coachat Texas A&M. She is actively coaching today and serves as aboard member of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.

This year, the three finalists for the Howell Trophy are JamontGordon and Charles Rhodes of Mississippi State and Dwayne Curtis ofOle Miss. Gillom Trophy finalists are Jennifer Rushing of DeltaState University, Pauline Love of Southern Miss and Shawn Goff ofOle Miss.

Gordon and Rhodes were instrumental in leading MSU to the SECWest Division championship. The Bulldogs made a good showing in theNCAA Tournament and lost a heart-breaker to Memphis lastSunday.

Gordon is a 6-4 junior guard from Nashville, Tenn. Rhodes is a6-8 senior forward from Jackson (Lanier).

Curtis, a 6-8 senior center from Chicago, helped lead the Rebelsto the quarterfinals of the NIT after a late-season tailspin anddisappointment in the SEC Tournament.

Rushing, a 5-8 senior guard from Hollandale, has earned DivisionII All-American honors. She has guided the Lady Statesmen to aperfect 33-0 record and berth in the NCAA Final Four, wheretop-ranked Delta State will play tonight in Kearney, Neb.

Love is a 6-1 junior from Luxora, Ark. She has helped lead theLady Golden Eagles to the third round of the WNIT where they playat Michigan tonight in Ann Arbor. She was named to theAll-Conference USA first team.

Goff is a 6-3 junior from Tallahassee, Fla. She was a secondteam All-SEC selection.

For sure, Delta State, Mississippi State, Ole Miss and USM havehad their share of outstanding female basketball players in thepast. Now the ladies will receive some much-deservedrecognition.

Brookhaven girls basketball coach Freda Craft was among thefolks in attendance last Thursday for the 18th AnnualMississippi/Alabama All-Star Games. Of prime interest was the girlsgame where Swayze Black and Nikki Byrd were representingBrookhaven.

Played at the Pelham, Ala. Civic Center, both games werehigh-scoring thrillers. The Mississippi boys lost 101-99 and thegirls fell 89-86 in overtime.

According to Craft, the Mississippi girls played poorly ondefense. Alabama’s outside sharpshooters compensated for a lack ofheight inside.

Byrd, a 6-2 center and Ole Miss signee, finished with 9 points.Black, a 6-3 center/forward and an LSU signee, netted 5 points.Both girls, a.k.a. Twin Towers, have bright futures ahead of themon the collegiate level.

Write to sports editor Tom Goetz, c/o The DAILY LEADER, P.O.BOX 551, Brookhaven, MS 39602 or