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Darren Collison Named Bob Cousy Award Finalist
Courtesy: UCLA Athletics  
Release:  02/05/2009

Feb. 5, 2009

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in conjunction with The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. (NYSE: HIG) are pleased to announce this years Finalists for the Bob Cousy Award presented by The Hartford, an honor presented annually to the nation's top collegiate point guard. The 17 Finalist were chosen from a pool of over sixty top candidates from NCAA Division I, II and III institutions across the country. The 2009 Finalists were selected by screening committees comprised of media members representing all three divisions of collegiate basketball.

Beginning today, college basketball fans nationwide will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite candidate online by CLICKING HERE. The top vote-getter from the on-line poll will receive the "Fan Vote," representing one vote to be cast by the Blue Ribbon committee selecting the Award winner. The Blue Ribbon committee is comprised of Hall of Famers including Bob Cousy, Dean Smith and Jim Calhoun, as well as college coaches from Divisions I, II and III, members of the media and additional college basketball experts and celebrities. The 2009 Bob Cousy Award presented by The Hartford winner will be presented at the NCAA Men's Final Four in Detroit, Michigan on Monday, April 6.

"When Mr. Cousy created this prestigious award, his desire was to not only recognize a point guard for their ability, but to honor those who represent character traits such as leadership, vision and integrity," said Basketball Hall of Fame President & CEO John L. Doleva. "When you review the credentials of the student-athletes who are Finalists for the 2009 Award, it is clear there are a number of talented players who are striving to live and achieve the standards set by Mr. Cousy."

"We are excited to again join forces with the Basketball Hall of Fame in support of the Bob Cousy Award, an organization which promotes Mr. Cousy's values of leadership, vision, teamwork and integrity among collegiate athletes," said Connie Weaver, senior vice president of marketing and communications at The Hartford. "These values, set by Mr. Cousy, are also mirrored here at The Hartford and part of all that we do--from the products and services we offer through our insurance, investment and retirement businesses to how we serve our customers. We applaud this year's finalists for working hard to be the best that they can be."

Cousy, also known as "Mr. Basketball," is considered the prototype of point guards and was a freshman on the Holy Cross team that won the NCAA Championship in 1947. He was a pioneer in the NBA, famous for bringing a 'flashy' style of passing and showmanship to the game. Named one of the Top 50 Players in NBA History, Cousy led the Boston Celtics to championships in 1957 and 1959 through 1963. Cousy led the NBA in assists for eight consecutive years (1953-1960) and played in 13 straight All-Star games. After his retirement from professional basketball he was a successful coach at Boston College from 1963 to 1969, with an overall record of 117 wins and 38 losses.

"If basketball is an art form," noted Cousy, "it primarily resides in the artistry, creativity, imagination and development of the nuances of the position by a genuine point guard such as John Stockton or Jason Kidd." Cousy was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1971.

Previous winners of the award include D.J. Augustin (2008) of the University of Texas, Acie Law IV (2007) of Texas A&M, Dee Brown (2006) of Illinois, Raymond Felton (2005) from the University of North Carolina and Jameer Nelson (2004) from St. Joseph's University.

About the Bob Cousy Award presented by The Hartford: Nominees for the Bob Cousy Award presented by The Hartford were solicited through all Division I, II and III institutions. A committee comprised of media members narrowed the field to 17 student athletes from all three divisions of men's NCAA college basketball. The group of 17 will be reviewed and a winner chosen by a Blue Ribbon selection committee comprised of Hall of Famers, Mr. Cousy, college coaches, media members, and a vote representing the top vote getter in the on-line fan poll.

2009 BOB COUSY AWARD PRESENTED BY THE HARTFORD FINALISTS

DIVISION I
Sheron Collins, Kansas
Darren Collison, UCLA
Stephen Curry, Davidson College
Toney Douglas, Florida State
Levance Fields, Pittsburgh
Jonny Flynn, Syracuse
Dominic James, Marquette
Ty Lawson, North Carolina
Eric Maynor, Virginia Commonwealth
Patrick Mills, St. Mary's
Jeremy Pargo, Gonzaga
AJ Price, Connecticut
Jeff Teague, Wake Forest

DIVISION II
Virgil Buensuceso, BYU-Hawaii
Darren Duncan, Merrimack College

DIVISION III
David Arseneault, Grinnell College
Sean Wallis, Washington University


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