April 5, 2008
(San Antonio, TX) - Described by his coach as a college basketball player that "epitomizes the pure student-athlete," Vanderbilt star Shan Foster is the 2007-08 winner of the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award for NCAA men's basketball. The award, selected by a nationwide vote of coaches, media and fans, is presented annually to college basketball's outstanding NCAA Division I senior student-athlete.
The announcement and trophy presentation was made today by Lowe's and CBS during the NCAA Men's Final Four telecast. Dick Enberg, who first conceived the idea of an award for seniors in 2001 in response to the growing trend of basketball players leaving school early for the NBA, helped make the announcement between the two semifinal games.
"I'm very excited to win this award," Foster said. "It means a lot to me, to Vanderbilt University, our coaching staff, my teammates, and my family. This award says a lot about a person's character, and one of my goals is to show that I'm more than just a basketball player. I believe this award is a testament to that."
Foster put together a remarkable senior season at Vanderbilt, earning Southeastern Conference (SEC) Player of the Year honors in a powerhouse conference that was among the nation's toughest. He averaged 20.3 points and 4.9 rebounds per game while leading the Commodores to a 26-8 record and Top 20 national ranking. By pouring in a team-leading 691 points as a senior, Foster became Vanderbilt's all-time leading career scorer and the only player in school history to score over 2,000 points.
While his performance on the court has been among the nation's best, Foster also has epitomized the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award off-the-court criteria with his classroom performance, character and community involvement. A double major in Leadership and Health & Human services, Foster will receive his undergraduate degree in May 2008. An accomplished musician that has recorded a song on a gospel album featuring Nashville, TN artists, Foster is involved with Vanderbilt's Susan Gray School, an on-campus research-oriented school devoted to young children with developmental disabilities.
Foster frequently visits elementary, middle and high schools as well as children's hospitals and churches in Nashville. He has served as a mentor to five teenagers in the Nashville area.
"This is a great honor for Shan and we're extremely proud of him," said Kevin Stallings, head men's basketball coach at Vanderbilt. "He is an excellent ambassador for our program and for Vanderbilt University, and after seeing what he has done both on and off the court for the last four years, I believe he is very deserving of this honor."
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award has grown into the nation's premier tribute to college seniors. The award identifies personal qualities that define a complete student-athlete, with criteria including excellence in the classroom, character and community, as well as the candidate's performance on the court.
"The Lowe's Senior CLASS Award is a prestigious award within collegiate athletics because it focuses on the total student-athlete," said Bob Gfeller, senior vice president of marketing and advertising at Lowe's. "Nationwide, talented athletes compete every day, but Lowe's believes those individuals who are equally dedicated in the classroom and in their communities make the real difference with their abilities. Lowe's salutes Shan, a true student-athlete, for using his platform in athletics to make an impact on those around him and congratulates him for being the 2008 award winner."
Foster is the seventh winner of the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award and the first from a SEC school. Previous winners of the men's basketball award include Juan Dixon of Maryland (2002), David West of Xavier (2003), Jameer Nelson of St. Joseph's (2004), Wayne Simien of Kansas (2005), J.J. Reddick of Duke (2006) and Alando Tucker of Wisconsin (2007).
The award was inspired by the remarkable story of former Duke star Shane Battier, who could have been an NBA lottery pick but returned to college for his senior season, led the Blue Devils to the NCAA national championship in 2001 and earned his degree.
The Lowe's Senior CLASS Award also names an All-Senior All-America Team each year based on voting results of the finalists. Joining Foster on the 2007-08 First Team is: Roy Hibbert of Georgetown, Chris Lofton of Tennessee, Drew Neitzel of Michigan State and DeMarcus Nelson of Duke. The second team is Jaycee Carroll of Utah State, A.J. Graves of Butler, Brian Roberts of Dayton, Sean Singletary of Virginia and Peyton Stovall of Ball State.
Lowe's, an official Corporate Partner of the NCAA, expanded the Senior CLASS Award program in 2007 to include NCAA Division I men's and women's soccer, men's ice hockey, men's lacrosse, baseball and softball in addition to men's and women's basketball.