May 11, 2010
CHOUDRANT, La. -
Louisiana Tech held its annual men's basketball end of the season awards banquet at Squire Creek Country Club Tuesday in Choudrant, La.
Head coach Kerry Rupp presented this year's awards to his team that finished with a record of 24-11 and accomplished a number of goals including a postseason win for the first time since 2002. Master of Ceremonies Ernest Bartlett, father of sophomore guard Anson Bartlett, read the list of accomplishments to a crowd of nearly 150 people.
Louisiana Tech Athletics Director Bruce Van De Velde spoke and thanked fans, boosters, administrators as well as the coaching staff and their families. He also spoke proudly of seniors Jamel Guyton, Kyle Gibson, David Jackson and Magnum Rolle and junior Shawn Oliverson who are all on course to graduate within the next quarter. All five student-athletes were later presented a unique collage which featured Karl Malone Court and cutout pictures themselves.
After a highlight video, it was Rupp's turn to speak and hand out awards. He spoke about a former player of his at the University of Indiana who came from a tough background and a single-parent family and wasn't too excited about getting a degree until a talk from then assistant coach Rupp. He then spoke highly of his current squad, the challenges they've faced and the importance of a college education.
"I want to coach these guys not just every day, but every repetition of every day," Rupp said. "If you go out and represent yourself well, then in the end the winning will take care of itself out on the court. All of the points they scored, the rebounds, the assists, the dunks, all of those things are great, but the most important thing to me is when I see those kids get degrees."
Gibson and Rolle shared the Most Valuable Player award for the second consecutive year. The award is fitting as the duo led the team in scoring in 24 of the 35 games played this season and ranks as the seventh top scoring tandem in Tech history with 1,042 points despite playing just two seasons together.
Gibson, from Los Angeles, Calif., averaged 18.4 points during his senior campaign including a career-high 32 points outburst against Fresno State. The second-team all-Western Athletic Conference performer finishes a remarkable career as the sixth all-time leading scorer at Tech with 1,677 points.
Rolle, from Freeport, Bahamas, averaged 13.9 points while manning the frontcourt with 8.4 rebounds and leading the WAC with 2.09 blocks per game. Rolle, like Gibson, a second-team all-WAC performer had a career-high 29 points at Houston this season and three times recorded 17 rebounds.
Guyton was given the Mr. Hustle award. The Odessa, Texas native averaged 12.0 points and brought toughness to the court every night for the Bulldogs. Guyton led the team in steals with 56, the fifth-most in a season at Tech.
Sophomore Olu Ashaolu was presented the Most Improved Player award. After averaging 5.3 points and 4.3 rebounds last season, the Toronto, Ontario native nearly doubled those numbers to 10.7 points and 8.1 rebounds this season. Ashaolu recorded 10 double-doubles and led the team in defensive rebounds.
Junior DeAndre Brown was presented the Newcomer of the Year award. A transfer from Navarro Junior College, Brown averaged 10.6 points while playing point guard for a Bulldog team that averaged 73.1 points a game, the most since the 2001-02 season. Brown's 119 assists was the most by a Tech player in four seasons.
Oliverson was presented the Tommy Joe Eagles award. The award, named after the former Tech player and coach is given to the Bulldog who gives an "A" effort in everything he does on the court and in the community. Tommy's widow, Connie, presented the award to Oliverson.
Louisiana Tech president Dr. Dan Reneau, director of basketball promotions Karl Malone and former Louisiana Tech and Utah Jazz head coach Scotty Robertson were also on hand to support the Bulldogs. Rolle was not in attendance as he was out of town, going through workouts in anticipation of a profession basketball career.
2009-10 Louisiana Tech Award Winners
Newcomer of the Year: DeAndre Brown
Mr. Hustle: Jamel Guyton
Most Improved: Olu Ashaolu
Co-Most Valuable Player: Magnum Rolle
Co-Most Valuable Player: Kyle Gibson
Tommy Joe Eagles: Shawn Oliverson