- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 29, 2007

After getting passed over for Southeastern Conference player of the year, South Carolina point guard and District product Tre Kelley garnered a higher honor.

Kelley yesterday received the Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award, given by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame to the nation’s most outstanding college player 6-foot or shorter.

“I thought all the accolades and accomplishments for college basketball were over for me,” Kelley, a 6-foot, 188-pound senior, said in a phone interview. “It’s just a reflection of the hard work I put into basketball and this school and what I’ve tried to do to lead my teammates.”

Kelley led the Gamecocks with 18.9 points and 5.1 assists a game in his third year as a starter.

The Dunbar graduate ranked second in the SEC in scoring and third in assists. South Carolina went 14-16 overall and 4-12 in conference play. Kelley, who was named first-team All-SEC, is the first player from his conference to win the award.

“We are proud to honor Mr. Kelley with the 2007 Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award,” John L. Doleva, president and CEO of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, said in a press release. “His success on the court and his achievements in the classroom as a student-athlete make him an admirable recipient. Mr. Kelley exemplifies the qualities this award is designed to celebrate.”

Kelley had a career year despite playing much of the season with a torn meniscus in his left knee. He elected not to have surgery at the time of the injury in December so he could continue to lead his team.

He had the surgery Saturday and is rehabilitating his knee so he can attend the NBA predraft camp in Orlando, Fla., in late May.

“Receiving this award tells us that the foundation voters recognized how good a player Tre is,” South Carolina coach Dave Odom said. “It shows his commitment to basketball and his commitment to the university. I’m extremely proud of him. His name is now firmly entrenched with other great players who have stood out in history.”

Past award recipients include former NBA stars Tim Hardaway and Muggsy Bogues and current players Earl Boykins, Jameer Nelson and Nate Robinson.

Kelley is also a finalist, along with Texas A&M;’s Acie Law IV, Iowa’s Adam Haluska and Wisconsin’s Alando Tucker, for the Chip Hilton award, which honors a basketball player for outstanding character and talent.

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