North Dakota State forward Brett Winkelman is one of five premier basketball players and four outstanding coaches selected as finalists for the prestigious Chip Hilton and Clair Bee awards to be presented by Chip Hilton Sports and the National Association of Basketball Coaches at the Final Four in Detroit on Sunday, April 5.
Chip Hilton Sports began presenting the awards in 1997 as a way to honor outstanding excellence and character in college basketball during the season.
The selection committee is composed of Dan Beebe, Jay Bilas, Dave Gavitt, Bob Hammel, Bob Knight, Pat Knight, Billy Packer, Dean Smith, and Dick Vitale.
The Chip Hilton Player of the Year Award honors a senior Division I men's player for demonstrating outstanding character, leadership, and talent similar to the qualities evident in the 24-book Chip Hilton sports fiction series. The books authored by Clair Bee enjoyed their first popularity in the late 1940s through the mid-1960s and were updated and re-released to a new generation of readers in 1999.
The Clair Bee Coach of the Year Award honors a Division I men's basketball coach who through his actions on and off the court, makes an outstanding contribution to the sport of college basketball. The criteria for this award involves actions that inspire, motivate, coach and educate their teams to achieve their fullest potential and demonstrate outstanding character.
Coach Clair F. Bee, the late Long Island University coach and Hall of Famer, compiled a .826 lifetime winning percentage, still the best in major-college coaching history. Known as the "Innovator", Clair Bee's influence on the game also extended to strategies, (1-3-1 zone defense), (3-second rule), sports camps (Camp All-America), (Kutsher's Sports Academy), writing technical coaching books, and conducting coaching clinics around the world.
By the time he left coaching in the 1950s, Clair Bee had already begun writing the Chip Hilton Sports Series, which is considered the top sports fiction series ever written.
The coaching finalists for the Clair Bee Award are Mike Anderson, Missouri; Brad Greenberg, Radford; Trent Johnson, LSU; and Andy Kennedy, Mississippi.
The player finalists for the Chip Hilton Award are A.J. Abrams, Texas; Jon Brockman, Washington; Tyler Hansbrough, North Carolina; Jason Holsinger, Evansville; and Brett Winkelman, North Dakota State.
Last season's Chip Hilton Award winner was Mike Green of Butler University.
Bob McKillop of Davidson College was the 2008 Clair Bee Award winner.