Darnell Jackson (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
CARY, N.C. – Kansas senior forward Darnell Jackson has been named a finalist for the eighth annual V Foundation Comeback Award, the foundation announced Tuesday. The award is presented in conjunction with ESPN and the recipient will be announced during ESPN’s basketball Final Four/NIT weekend coverage.
The finalists are: Jermaine Bishop, Northern Arizona University; T.J. Carter, University of North Carolina Wilmington; Kevin Coble,
Northwestern University; Mickey Duncan, Berry College; Jamar Fleming,
Virginia State University; Alex Franz, St. Mary’s College of
Maryland; Khaliq Gant, Cornell University; Danielle Hagen, University
of Northern Colorado; Jessica Hall, University of Memphis; Nicole
Hester, Drexel University; Darnell Jackson, University of Kansas;
Taylor Rochestie, Washington State University, Carlos Taylor, Montana
State University; Anthony Williams, SUNY Plattsburgh.
The annual award is open to men and women collegiate basketball
student-athletes in all divisions. It is awarded to an individual or a
team who has accomplished a personal triumph in the face of true
adversity, be it in health, life or moral dilemma.
Student-athletes are nominated by their athletics department
Jackson leads Kansas in rebounding at 6.9 boards per game and averages
12.2 points per outing. In addition to his nomination story below,
Jackson has started 25 of 30 games for the 27-3 Jayhawks, who are
ranked No. 5 by Associated Press and No. 6 in the ESPN/USA Today
Coaches’ polls. Jackson entered the season with career 4.7
scoring and 4.1 rebounding averages.
The V Foundation Comeback Award is presented in memory of Jim Valvano,
the late basketball coach and ESPN commentator, whose personal battle
with cancer inspired the creation of The V Foundation. In his memorable
speech at ESPN’s inaugural ESPY Awards announcing the
creation of The V Foundation, Valvano’s
“Don’t Give Up. . .Don’t Ever Give
Up!”® motto created a legacy from which the Comeback
Award was created.
“We continue to be amazed at the strength and resilience of
the student-athletes who are nominated for The V Foundation Comeback
Award,” said V Foundation CEO Nick Valvano. “These
young people are outstanding student-athletes who have faced adversity
and challenges with incredible determination and strength.
“This is the eighth year of the award, and again, the
nominees capture the ‘Never Give Up’ spirit of The
V Foundation,” Valvano continued. “I would be
honored to have my brother’s name be remembered with each and
every one of them.”
The 2008 recipient will be selected by an eight-member sub-committee of
The V Foundation Board of Directors. Past recipients of the award are
Purdue’s Katie Douglas (2001), Western Michigan’s
Kristin Koetsier (2002), Arizona State’s Justin Allen (2003),
Texas’ Jamie Carey (2004), Washington’s Kayla Burt
(2005), Western Washington’s Grant Dykstra (2006), and the
United States Military Academy Women’s Basketball Team (2007).