NEW YORK, April 14, 2011 – Tulsa 66ers forward Larry Owens, currently with the Washington Wizards, is the recipient of the 2010-11 Jason Collier Sportsmanship Award as voted on by the 16 NBA Development League head coaches, it was announced today. The award honors the player who best represents the ideals of character and conduct on and off the court.
“The last two seasons Larry has set the tone for our team and is an example of what we are all about in Tulsa,” said 66ers head coach Nate Tibbetts. “He is a professional on and off the court and a great person to work with every day. The type of attitude he brings to the gym day-in and day-out makes him a very deserving recipient of this award.”
Owens’ hard work paid off this season in the form of two GATORADE Call-Ups to the NBA. The Wizards called up Owens on April 6, and in five games with Washington, the 6-7, 210-pound forward out of Oral Roberts has averaged 6.2 points and 2.2 rebounds in 22.4 minutes. The San Antonio Spurs also summoned Owens in January, and Owens averaged 1.3 points in 4.4 minutes over seven games with the Spurs.
In 43 games (42 starts) this season with Tulsa, Owens averaged 12.4 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists, leading the 66ers to a 33-17 record and a berth in the NBA D-League Playoffs.
“In his second year with the 66ers, Larry continued to set an impressive example of sportsmanship that we value in the NBA Development League,” said Chris Alpert, Vice President of Basketball Operations and Player Personnel for the NBA D-League. “Larry showed tremendous respect for the game, as well as for his teammates, his opponents and referees, and carried that high level of character off the court as well. I congratulate Larry on another successful season and for his tremendous efforts as an ambassador of our game.”
The name of the Sportsmanship Award was changed in 2006 to honor former NBA D-League, Houston Rockets and Atlanta Hawks center Jason Collier, who passed away suddenly on Oct. 15, 2005. Collier was a 2003-04 All-NBA D-League First Team selection as a member of the Fayetteville Patriots, but more importantly was a player and person who exemplified the qualities of a faithful teammate, husband, father, son, brother and friend. He was ready to begin his sixth NBA season at the time of his death.
Owens joins Andre Ingram (Utah Flash, 2010), Will Conroy (Albuquerque, 2009), Billy Thomas (Colorado, 2008), Roger Powell (Arkansas, 2007) and Ime Udoka (Fort Worth, 2006) as recipients of the award since it was renamed in Collier’s honor.