College Station – Texas A&M women’s basketball player Danielle Gant (Oklahoma City, Okla.) has been named the recipient of the Academic Momentum Award which recognizes student-athletes who have demonstrated significant academic improvement throughout their collegiate careers and celebrates them for having the ability to balance textbooks with playbooks.
Gant, a 5-foot-11 senior combination forward/guard for the preseason nationally-ranked Aggies, has significantly improved her grade-point average since her first semester at A&M and won the school’s Heart of the Learning Center Award, given to the top male and female student-athletes who best utilize the academic center support system as a freshman in 2006. She is currently majoring in agricultural leadership and development in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and is on track to graduate in May of 2010.
Academic support for women’s basketball is headed up by associate athletic director for academics Ingrid Villar-Woods and administrative assistant for academic services Margaret McGraw.
Gant, one of the top returning players in the country, says that she really enjoys her classes at A&M and the spirit that Aggies have for one another which has helped her to be successful in the classroom and on the court. Last season, the All-Big 12 First Team and two-time Big 12 All-Defensive Team selection was second on the team in scoring averaging 14.7 points per game and shot a team-best 52.9 percent from the floor.
The award is sponsored by the National Consortium for Academics and Sports and Scholar-Baller®. The mission of the NCAS is to create a better society by focusing on educational attainment and using the power and appeal of sport to positively affect social change. Scholar-Baller’s® mission is to brand education and put the focus of student-athletes back on the student.
Sixty three nominations were received from 39 different colleges and universities across the country. One male and female winner were selected from nine of the NCAS’ 10 national regions. Each honoree will receive a recognition certificate and authentic Scholar-Baller® patch. In addition, the winners of each region will receive a Thinkman™ and Thinkwoman™ Trophy for their academic performances.
Nominees were predominantly evaluated on evidence of substantial grade improvement throughout the span of their studies. The goal is to reward students who have altered their sole focus from sports to the classroom during their time in college and have learned how to successfully balance both. In selecting winners for the Academic Momentum Award from the nominee pool of student-athletes, a combination of their academic improvement, character and community involvement were assessed to determine the winners.