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May 2, 2011
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; May 2, 2011 - To no one's surprise, Talor Battle (Albany, N.Y.) was named Penn State's John Lawther Most Valuable Player award winner for an unprecedented fourth-straight time as the Nittany Lion basketball team wrapped up the 2010-11 season with their annual post-season banquet before a full house at the Nittany Lion Inn.
Battle, who finished second in the Big Ten posting 20.2 ppg, helped lead Penn State to its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2001 and the program's first-ever trip to the Big Ten Tournament championship game. The Lions finished coach Ed DeChellis' eighth season at the helm with a 19-15 record and tied for fourth with a 9-9 record in Big Ten play.
Battle was one of five senior players and several senior managers honored on the night. Among the other career highlights for Battle and fellow senior players Jeff Brooks, David Jackson, Andrew Jones and Steve Kirkpatrick were: winning the program's first-ever national tournament title (2009 NIT), recording a school single-season record 27 wins (2009), posting a total of 72 wins over four years (the fifth-best 4-year win total in program history), twice defeating four top 25 ranked teams in one season (the second highest marks in program history), beating 10 total Top 25 ranked teams on their careers, winning a Big Ten Conference record three-straight ACC/Big Ten Challenge games, playing in front of more than 560,000 fans at the Bryce Jordan Center (including the sixth-largest crowd in BJC history of 15,403 for their Senior Night) and nearly 1.3 million fans total in 134 games, and appearing on national television in 109 of their games while playing in 14 different states and Canada.
Jackson already earned his Penn State degree in December and the other four seniors are all expected to receive their degrees during Penn State graduation ceremonies on May 14. Every senior to play for coach DeChellis in his 15 years as a head coach has earned their degree.
Battle became the Nittany Lions' all-time leading scorer sinking his final career shot, a 26-foot three that tied the game late vs. Temple in the NCAA second round, for 2,213 points to surpass Jesse Arnelle's 56-year old Penn State record of 2,138 and finish 10th all-time in Big Ten history. The three marked Battle's 106th of the season, the second-best total in Penn State history, and gave him 687 points on the year, also the second-most ever scored in a single season by a Penn State player. Battle's scoring average was the highest by a Lion in 48 years and he posted 18 games of 20 points or more on the year to join Arnelle as the only Lions to lead the team in scoring in four-straight seasons.
Battle was named an Associated Press honorable-mention All-American and became the first Nittany Lion ever to earn multiple first-team All-Big Ten, NABC All-District and USBWA All-District team selections.
Fellow senior Jeff Brooks (Louisville, Ky.) earned Most Improved Player honors after raising his averages from 7.2 points and 4.4 rebounds per game as a junior to 13.1 ppg and a team-best 6.3 rpg while shooting a team-best 54.7 percent from the floor and a 40.3 percent from three with career-bests of 27 threes, 46 blocked shots and 28 steals. Brooks' block total ranked as the ninth-best season mark in Penn State history. Brooks was an honorable-mention All-Big Ten selection and his 433 points were 16 short of his three-year career total entering the season.
Senior Andrew Jones (Philadelphia, Pa.) was named the Lou Lamie Most Inspirational Player award winner after finishing second on the team with 5.6 rpg and providing several strong defensive efforts on the year, including holding Temple's Lavoy Allen to just three points in 40 minutes of action in the NCAA Tournament. Jones posted a team-high eight rebounds in that game to finish his career with 681, the 12th-best mark in Penn State history.
Senior David Jackson (Farrell, Pa.) was honored with the Coaches Award after posting a career-best 9.9 ppg and 4.5 rpg on the year. Jackson finished second on the team with 40 three-pointers and shot a team-best 85.7 percent from the foul line. Jackson finished his career with 984 points and 526 rebounds and as the program's all-time leader in games played with 136.
Sophomore Tim Frazier (Houston, Texas) was named John Egli Mr. Defense award winner after leading the team with 35 steals and often times guarding opponent's primary perimeter scorer and providing on-the-ball pressure throughout the year.
Senior Steve Kirkpatrick (Carlisle, Pa.) was named the Steve Krentzman Scrappiest Player and also honored with the Scholastic Award after posting a better than 3.4 grade-point-average in Finance.
Freshman Jonathan Graham (Baltimore, Md.) was named the Dave Phillips Unsung Hero Award winner after showing great improvement and adding 30 pounds of muscle during a red-shirt freshman season.
For all the latest information, notes, pictures and related links on Penn State basketball follow Assistant Athletic Communications Director Brian Siegrist on Twitter (@PSUSTRETCH) and check GoPSUsports.com. The Nittany Lions are also on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pennstatebasketball.