Recipients to be honored at 75th Gold Key Dinner on April 24
Providence College men's basketball point guard Kris Dunn and UConn women's basketball forward Breanna Stewart have been selected as the Connecticut Sports Writers' Alliance Bill Lee and Hank O'Donnell athletes of the year.
Dunn, a standout for Providence College and a New London High graduate, was named Big East Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year in 2015. Stewart, who grew up in North Syracuse, N.Y., was The Associated Press Player of the Year, the Naismith Trophy winner, the John Wooden Award winner and the Final Four's most outstanding performer in 2015.
Dunn and Stewart will be honored at the 75th Gold Key Dinner on Sunday, April 24 at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington.
The awards are given in memory of two former sports editors. Lee was the longtime sports editor of The Hartford Courant. O'Donnell was the former executive sports editor and columnist for the Waterbury newspapers.
Dunn, a junior, is currently ranked 10th in the nation in assists per game (6.6) and second in steals (3.04). He finished 2015 third in the nation in assists per game and fifth in steals. Dunn was the first guard in the history of the Big East to win both the Player of the Year and the Defensive Player of the year awards.
Last season, he had the second-highest single-season assist mark in Providence history with 247. Dunn, who is averaging 17.1 points per game this season, is a candidate for the Bob Cousy Award and the John Wooden Award. He is projected as a lottery pick in the NBA Draft. At New London High, Dunn was a McDonald's, Parade and Jordan All-American. As a junior, he led New London to a Class L title.
Stewart has led UConn to the last three NCAA Tournament titles. In 2015, she was a unanimous first-team All-American for the second straight year. She was also the American Athletic Conference Player of the Year for the second consecutive season and the Final Four's Most Outstanding Performer for the third straight year.
She has twice been named The Associated Press Player of the Year. She is averaging 19.9 points per game and 8.3 rebounds for the Huskies this season.
Former welterweight boxing champion Marlon Starling, New England/Hartford Whalers owner and founder Howard Baldwin, 1960 U.S. Hockey Olympic gold medalist Bob McVey, Trinity College squash coach Paul Assaiante and longtime Greeenwich High boys swimming coach Terry Lowe will receive Gold Keys at the dinner.
Tickets to the 2016 Gold Key Dinner, which begins at 4 p.m., are $75 and can be purchased by contacting CSWA President Matthew Conyers of The Hartford Courant at 860-874-4166, or firstname.lastname@example.org; or Vice President Tim Jensen of Patch Media Corp., email@example.com. Tickets can also be obtained by mailing a check to the Connecticut Sports Writers' Alliance, P.O. Box 70, Unionville, CT, 06085.