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    Illini Wrap Up 2011-12 Season at 90th Annual Basketball Banquet
    Tracy Abrams is the first true freshman to be named Illini MVP.


    Tracy Abrams is the first true freshman to be named Illini MVP.

    April 10, 2012

    Urbana, Ill. - A sellout crowd of 500 people attended the 90th annual Illinois Men's Basketball Banquet Tuesday evening, an event once again sponsored by the Champaign-Urbana Kiwanis Club.

    Freshman Tracy Abrams earned team MVP honors, as voted on by his teammates. Abrams played in all 32 games and took over the role as starting point guard midway through the season. The rookie started 19 times and averaged 4.3 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.9 assists. Abrams becomes the first true freshman to receive Illinois MVP accolades and the first freshman since Cory Bradford was named team MVP during his redshirt freshman season in 1999.

    Junior Brandon Paul collected three awards, winning the Matt Heldman "Matto" Award for having the highest season-long total in a number of hustle statistics, the Ralf Woods Free Throw Trophy for leading the team with 74.8 percent shooting from the free throw line in Big Ten play, and the Lou Henson Award, given to the player who takes the most charges on the year. Paul received both the Matto Award and Woods Free Throw Trophy for the second consecutive season.

    Sophomore Meyers Leonard claimed two awards, receiving Most Improved Player, as voted on by the coaches, and the Illini Rebounders Award, for leading the Orange and Blue with an average of 8.2 boards.

    Junior D.J. Richardson won the Orange Krush 3-Point Award for leading the Illini with 71 three-point baskets, while sophomore Joseph Bertrand received the 6th-Man Award as chosen by the staff.

    Receiving special recognition at the banquet were seniors Sam Maniscalco and Jean Selus. Maniscalco won the Kenny Battle Most Inspirational Player Award, as selected by his teammates.

    2011-12 Fighting Illini Basketball Awards
    Illini Rebounders Award: Meyers Leonard
    Ralf Woods Free Throw Trophy: Brandon Paul
    Orange Krush 3-Point Award: D.J. Richardson
    6th-Man Award: Joseph Bertrand
    Lou Henson Courage Award: Brandon Paul
    Matt Heldman "Matto" Award: Brandon Paul
    Kenny Battle Most Inspirational Player: Sam Maniscalco
    Most Improved Player: Meyers Leonard
    Most Valuable Player: Tracy Abrams

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