June 25, 2014
LOS ANGELES – Several members of the national champion UConn men’s and women’s basketball teams are up for awards at the 2014 ESPYS, which take place Wednesday, July 16 at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles.
The UConn men’s basketball team garnered three nominations after defeating Kentucky, 60-54, last April to become the first No. 7 seed to ever win the national championship. Connecticut senior guard Shabazz Napier (Roxbury, Mass.), who scored a game-high 22 points against the Wildcats, is a candidate for Best Championship Performance along with Jimmie Johnson, Kawhi Leonard and David Ortiz.
Napier averaged 21.2 points per game in the NCAA Tournament to pace UConn, which is up for the Best Upset Award following a championship run that included wins over a three seed (Iowa State), two seed (Villanova) and the top overall seed Florida. Second-year head coach Kevin Ollie and nine-time national champion UConn women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma have both been nominated for Best Coach in a category rounded out by Pete Carroll (Seattle Seahawks), John Farrell (Boston Red Sox) and Greg Popovich (San Antonio Spurs).
Auriemma’s Huskies earned a nomination for Best Team following their perfect 40-0 record this past season, during which they outscored opponents by 34.2 points a game. UConn will compete with the Red Sox, Los Angeles Kings, Spurs, Seahawks and Florida State football for the award.
Connecticut sophomore forward Breanna Stewart (North Syracuse, N.Y.) is up for two awards of her own after being nominated for Best Female College Athlete and Best Female Athlete. The UConn star was named the Player of the Year by both the Associated Press and the United States Basketball Writers Association in 2014 after leading the Huskies with 19.4 points and 2.8 blocks. Former Connecticut standout Maya Moore joins Stewart as a nominee for Best Female Athlete, and she is also up for Best WNBA Player along with Elena Delle Donne, Angel McCoughtry and Candace Parker.
Fans have until 9 p.m. on July 16 to cast their votes and the ESPYs will get underway once the voting period is over.