Thirty NCAA men’s basketball student-athletes who excel both on and off the court were tabbed as candidates Wednesday for the 2009-2010 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award, and Tennessee’s Tyler Smith was among them. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence — classroom, character, community and competition.
Smith and South Carolina guard Devan Downey are the lone men’s candidates from the Southeastern Conference.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.
This year’s candidate class includes eight men’s players who are candidates for the AT&T Naismith Trophy (Smith included), and 11 candidates are from teams ranked in the preseason top 25 poll. Tennessee is ranked 10th in the current Associated Press poll.
Lowe’s, an official corporate partner of the NCAA, will announce the Senior CLASS Award winner for men’s basketball at the 2010 NCAA Men’s Final Four in Indianapolis in April.
The list of 30 candidates will be narrowed to 10 finalists midway through the regular season, and those 10 names will be placed on the official ballot. Ballots will be distributed through a nationwide voting system to media, coaches and fans, who will select one finalist who best exemplifies excellence in the four Cs of classroom, character, community and competition.
“Lowe’s is proud to be associated with the nominees for the Senior CLASS Award in men’s and women’s basketball,” Lowe’s Senior Vice President of Marketing Tom Lamb said. “Each of the student-athletes has shown tremendous commitment to their studies during their college careers. They have also demonstrated great character and a passion for community service.”
This marks the ninth year for the basketball division of the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award. Previous winners of the men’s 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. Redick of Duke (2006), Alando Tucker of Wisconsin (2007), Shan Foster of Vanderbilt (2008) and Tyler Hansbrough of North Carolina (2009).
In 2007-2008, Tennessee’s Chris Lofton was a Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award finalist, and he also was a first-team Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award All-Senior All-America selection.
The basketball candidate section of the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award site is accessible online at And fans can get more information on the award, updates on all of the candidates and inside information during the selection process by following the Senior CLASS Award on Twitter at