June 26, 2009
Kansas City, Mo. - Shorter College junior basketball standout Whitni Tucker has been named the female recipient of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics' (NAIA) prestigious Emil S. Liston Award as selected by the association's awards committee.
The award, presented annually by Daktronics, recognizes a male and female junior basketball player based on scholarship, character and playing ability.
Since 1950, the award has honored the memory of the NAIA's first executive director Emil S. Liston. Mr. Liston was the founder of the National Association of Intercollegiate Basketball (NAIB) and played a fundamental role in the NAIA men's basketball tournament.
"I am so excited for Whitni Tucker and our basketball program in her selection as the NAIA's Emil S. Liston award winner," said Shorter head coach Vic Mitchell. "Whitni epitomizes the term student-athlete and to be recognized nationally is a great honor for her and a tribute to the work she has done athletically and academically here at Shorter College.
"She is a joy to coach and a great leader for our team."
In 2008-2009, Tucker started 25 games at point guard for the Lady Hawks, helping lead the program to a 20-12 record, its second consecutive 20-win campaign.
The Pisgah, Ala. native led the team in assists, dishing out 73 helpers while also averaging just under 4.0 points-per-game. Her best outing came in the Lady Hawks' upset victory at Lee University, where Tucker posted 12 assists and five rebounds to go along with three points.
"On the court, Whitni is our leader," said Mitchell. "She understands her position as well as everyone else's position. She has very good anticipation skills and plays with great effort and intensity."
In the classroom, Tucker, a Mathematics major, has maintained a perfect academic record while also serving as President of the Shorter College Math Club.
A leader on campus and in the community, Tucker finds time to work summer basketball camps for young girls, teach Spanish to area elementary school students and volunteer with the Special Olympics.
"Whitni is a very pleasant individual and a wonderful team player," said Shorter Mathematics Department Chair Dr. Richard Cowan, who also serves as Tucker's academic advisor. "She does not seek recognition for herself. She is very optimistic and confident in her abilities and has proved that on the basketball court, in the classroom and in the community."
Tucker joins former Lady Hawk hoops star Karen Pittman as Shorter recipients of the Emil S. Liston Award. Pittman earned the honor at the conclusion of the 1995-96 academic year.
"I am definitely blessed to have coached two National Liston Award winners," Mitchell said. "After Karen won the award in 1996, I really did not think I would have the opportunity to coach another recipient.
"When we got the news about Whitni, it was very exciting."
Tucker, along with the NAIA's male winner Michael Jiskoot of Northwestern (Iowa) College, was selected by the NAIA Council of Faculty Athletics Representatives from a field that included nominees representing numerous NAIA member institutions.
Northwestern and Shorter will each receive a $1,000 scholarship award from Daktronics in the name of the winner.
"The NAIA is pleased to recognize Michael and Whitni with the Emil S. Liston Award," said Jim Carr, NAIA President and CEO. "Michael and Whitni's actions carry on the proud tradition of NAIA basketball. I commend their work ethic, ability to lead and commitment to athletic and academic excellence."