Courtesy: SJU Athletic Communications  
Release:  09/01/2004
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (1/9/04) - Saint Joseph's standout Jameer Nelson is one of 30 student-athletes to be named a candidate for the Bayer Advantage® Senior Class Award, which is presented annually to the top senior male and female NCAA Division I Player of the Year. Nelson, a consensus Preseason All-America, is in the midst of a stellar season for the 9th-ranked and unbeaten Hawks. The senior is one of the top candidates for National Player of the Year honors, including the John R. Wooden Award. The award was launched during the 2001-02 season in response to the recent trend of college basketball players leaving school early to turn professional. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the award was developed to honor seniors for completing their collegiate athletic eligibility. The idea first came from sportscaster Dick Enberg, who suggested such an award during the CBS telecast of the 2001 National Championship Game when Shane Battier led Duke to the title after returning to college for his senior season. The inaugural award winners in 2002-03 were Juan Dixon of Maryland and Sue Bird of Connecticut, followed last year by David West of Xavier and LaToya Thomas of Mississippi State. The list of nominees for the 2003-04 award each contains a minimum of 30 candidates - male and female- based on performance and achievements from their junior season. Both the men's and women's roster of candidates includes several preseason All-Americans. Missouri, Texas and Gonzaga each have two nominees for the male award. Duke is the only women's program that has more than one candidate. In early February, a national media committee that covers Division I college basketball will select ten Finalists from the list of candidates. 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, college basketball coaches and nationwide fan balloting. The men's winner will be announced on CBS television by Enberg during the NCAA Men's Final Four in San Antonio. The female winner will be announced during the NCAA Women's Final Four in New Orleans. At the same time, the Bayer Advantage Senior CLASS Award will also announce First-Team and Second-Team All-Senior All-America teams, based on results from the balloting. The winners will be presented with their awards during the CLASS Tribute Gala hosted by the Pride of Kansas City Foundation on April 30, 2004, three weeks following the Final Four.