Utah State basketball player Gary Wilkinson has been named the 2008-09 Western Athletic Conference Stan Bates Award winner it was announced by the league office Monday. Wilkinson is the first Utah State student-athlete to earn the distinguished honor.Named in honor of former WAC Commissioner Stan Bates, the annual award is given to the WAC’s top male and female scholar-athletes and recognizes the recipients’ athletic and academic accomplishments. The awards carry a $2,000 postgraduate scholarship.Hawai’i track and field athlete Annett Wichmann was this year’s female recipient.Wilkinson, from South Jordan, Utah, earned his degree in sociology last May graduating Summa Cum Laude. He is a two-time academic all-WAC honoree and was Utah State’s Sociology Outstanding Student of the Year, the highest honor obtained by a sociology student during the academic year.During the 2008-09 academic year, Wilkinson volunteered for Youth Firesides in which he spoke to local youths about various topics. He also mentored incoming freshmen athletes to help them make the transition to college.On the court, Wilkinson started all 70 games during his two years at Utah State and averaged 15.2 points and 6.9 rebounds per contest while shooting 58.2 percent from the field. He was named the WAC’s Player of the Year this past season in helping to lead the Aggies to a 30-5 record, both the WAC’s regular season and tournament titles, and an appearance in the NCAA tournament.Wilkinson was also named an Associated Press Honorable Mention All-American as a senior as he averaged 17.1 points and 6.8 rebounds, while shooting 58.0 percent from the field and 82.6 percent from the free throw line.
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