Flowers wins Howell Trophy Delta State forward Veronica Walker takes Gillom Trophy

Published 12:05 pm Tuesday, March 8, 2011

JACKSON — Former Southern Miss star Clarence Weatherspoon knows a good big man when he sees one. So in his mind, Gary Flowers deserves all the accolades that come his way.

Flowers, a 6-foot-8 senior forward, won the Cellular South Howell Trophy on Monday afternoon, given to Mississippi’s top men’s college basketball player. Delta State’s Veronica Walker won the Cellular South Gillom Trophy, given to the state’s top women’s player.

“The thing that’s so impressive about Gary is his versatility,” Weatherspoon said. “He can hit a shot from outside, post you up and finish around the basket with either hand. He’s aggressive and physical. There’s really not much else you could want from a big guy.”

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Flowers is averaging 19 points and 7.8 rebounds per game for the Golden Eagles, pushing them into the NCAA Tournament conversation for the first time in years.

Southern Miss finished the regular season with a 21-9 record and 9-7 mark in Conference USA.

The other two finalists for the Howell Trophy were Ole Miss guard Chris Warren and Mississippi State guard Dee Bost.

Walker, a 6-foot-1 forward from Indianola, is averaging 18.4 points and 9.8 rebounds for the Statesmen, leading the team in both categories. Delta State (26-3) has been one of the nation’s top Division II teams all season and will face North Alabama in the first round of the NCAA South Region Tournament on Wednesday.

“The day Veronica decided to come to Delta State was a huge day for our program,” Delta State coach Sandra Rushing said. “She’s such a hard worker and has improved her offensive game every day since she’s arrived on campus. But the reason I like her most is simple — she’s a winner.”

Walker played in high school at Indianola Gentry, where she won back-to-back Class 4A state titles with current Delta State point guard Bug Cooper.