Summers, Faulkner are state’s best

Published 11:30 am Tuesday, March 4, 2014

By David Brandt

The Associated Press

JACKSON — It was a good day for point guards at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame.

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Ole Miss’ Jarvis Summers won the Howell Trophy and Southern Mississippi’s Jamierra Faulkner earned the Gillom Trophy on Monday afternoon. The awards, which are sponsored by C Spire Wireless, are given to the Magnolia State’s best men’s and women’s college basketball players.

The honor was especially sweet for Summers, who is a Jackson native. The 6-foot-3 junior is averaging 17.2 points and nearly four assists per game while shooting nearly 45 percent from 3-point range.

“It means a lot to me,” Summers said in a phone interview. “I just want to thank the people who voted for me and my city and my state. This year I’ve just tried to step my game up. Time’s wasting. I’m a junior so I’m just trying to max out my potential.”

Summers is one of the most improved players in the SEC this season. He averaged just 9.1 points per game last season, but has grown into one of the league’s best guards. The Rebels have a 17-12 overall record and an 8-8 mark in the SEC.

“He’s been our MVP and without his production, I’d be frightened to think about where we’d be,” Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy said.

The other finalists for the Howell Trophy were Ole Miss guard Marshall Henderson and Southern Miss guard Neil Watson. Henderson won the award last season.

Summers, Henderson and Kennedy were unable to attend Monday’s presentation because of bad winter weather in north Mississippi. Summers accepted the award via a webcast that was streamed at the Hall of Fame.

Faulkner, a 5-foot-6 senior from West Palm Beach, Fla., is averaging 17.3 points and leads NCAA Division I with 8.5 assists per game. She ranks third in school history with 1,940 career points and has led the Lady Eagles to a 23-5 record and 12 victories in Conference USA this season, which is a school record.

“She’s a young lady who is the heart and soul of our team,” Southern Miss coach Joye Lee-McNelis said. “The Lady Eagles go as she goes. She is truly the engine of our car and makes us go. She’s a very special young lady and has committed herself since she walked on campus four years ago as a young, wide-eyed freshman to leave a legacy at Southern Miss.”

Mississippi State forward Martha Alwal and Ole Miss forward Tia Faleru were the other Gillom Trophy finalists. Alwal won the award last season.