Nelson, a 5'11" senior guard, will go down as the greatest player in the school's history. The 2004 Atlantic 10 Player of the Year, Nelson will finish his career as the school's all-time leader in points and assists while helping elevate the Saint Joseph's program to a new level with an unbeaten regular season, a number-one ranking, and a top seed in the NCAA Tournament. Nelson is averaging 20.2 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 5.2 assists per game.
Nelson has already won the Oscar Robertson Trophy as the Player of the Year voted on by the United States Basketball Writers Association. He has also earned the top player honor given by numerous publications and websites, including The Sporting News and ESPN.com.
Taurasi, a 6'0" senior guard at the University of Connecticut, has led her team to a pair of NCAA titles (2002 & 2003) and the Final Four (2001). The Big East Player of the Year (2003 & 2004) owns 629 career assists and needs only eight more to tie the school's record. Taurasi is averaging 15.6 points per game and has 468 total points this season. She will take part in the third and final training session for the 2004 USA Women's Senior National Team in hopes of earning a spot on the team that will compete in the 2004 Summer Olympics.
The Naismith Awards, in its 36th year, are given in honor of the inventor of the game of basketball - Dr. James Naismith. The awards program was founded by the Atlanta Tipoff Club, an organization dedicated to recognizing the achievements of student-athletes in basketball. The Awards, including Men's and Women's College Player of the Year, Men's and Women's Coach of the Year, Male and Female Prep Player of the Year, and Men's and Women's Official of the Year, are determined by a vote of the Naismith Board of Selectors. In addition, the Board of Selectors, comprised of a select group of leading basketball coaches, journalists, and administrators, honors a Men's and Women's Outstanding Contributor to Basketball.
Nelson will receive the award on April 9 in Atlanta.