Albuquerque’s Will Conroy Receives 2008-09 Jason Collier Sportsmanship Award
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NEW YORK, April 9, 2009 – Albuquerque Thunderbirds guard Will Conroy won the 2008-09 Jason Collier Sportsmanship Award, as voted by the 16 NBA Development League head coaches. The award honors the player who best represents the ideals of character and conduct on and off the court. NBA D-League President Dan Reed will present Conroy with the award on April 10 in Albuquerque when the Thunderbirds host the Tulsa 66ers.
“We’re all very proud of Will’s accomplishments on and off the court this season,” said John Coffino, Thunderbirds’ head coach. “Nobody is a better ambassador of the game and the team to the Thunderbirds’ fans and to the Albuquerque community than Will is.”
In addition to being recognized for his sportsmanship, Conroy has enjoyed a year worthy of acclaim on the floor, averaging a league-leading 26.5 points to go with 7.9 assists and 4.8 rebounds in 47 games, all starts, for the Thunderbirds. Conroy garnered All-NBA Development League First Team honors and broke the single-game scoring record when he netted 53 points against the Colorado 14ers in a 155-127 loss on April 8. Additionally, he was a 2009 NBA D-League All-Star the winner of the 2009 NBA D-League H.O.R.S.E. competition. He was twice named NBA D-League Performer of the Week and earned NBA D-League Co-Player of the Month honors in January.
“Will is a very worthy recipient of this award,” said Chris Alpert, NBA D-League Vice President of Basketball Operations and Player Personnel. “He is not only a tremendous basketball player - as evidenced by his First Team All-League selection - but he is also a terrific representative of the game who has tremendous respect for the game, his teammates, referees, and opponents.”
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 October 15, 2005. Collier was a First Team 2003-04 All-NBA D-League selection as a member of the Fayetteville Patriots, but more importantly, 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.
Conroy joins current San Antonio Spurs forward Ime Udoka (Fort Worth, 2006), Roger Powell (Arkansas, 2007) and Billy Thomas (Colorado, 2008) as recipients of the award since it was renamed in Collier’s honor.