Roberts honored as Mississippi's best college player

Updated: April 14, 2005, 11:02 PM ET
Associated Press

JACKSON, Miss. -- Lawrence Roberts capped his brief but brilliant career at Mississippi State by winning the Howell Trophy on Thursday as the best college basketball player in Mississippi.

Roberts, a power forward who had more than 1,000 points and 600 rebounds in just two seasons in Starkville, won the inaugural award voted upon by the state's media members and named after Mississippi State great Bailey Howell.

The other finalists were Roberts' Mississippi State teammate Shane Power and Mississippi forward Tommie Eddie.

Roberts, who averaged 16.9 points and a Southeastern Conference-leading 11 rebounds this season, blossomed into one of the best big men in the nation two years ago after transferring to Mississippi State from Baylor after teammate Patrick Dennehy's death.

Roberts, a native of Houston, was named an All-American and the SEC's player of the year in 2003-04 after leading the Bulldogs to their first outright SEC regular-season title in 41 years and averaging 17.1 points and 10.2 rebounds.

This season, his rebounding numbers were even better -- Roberts led the SEC in that category and was the only Howell Trophy finalist to lead the league in any statistic.

His scoring suffered only slightly despite increased attention from his growing reputation as one of the SEC's best frontcourt players, and because the Bulldogs' perimeter game failed to stretch defenses and unclog the lane. As a result, Roberts was fifth in the league in scoring with just under 17 points per game.

And in one of the highlights of the season, he had the first triple-double in school history, finishing with 18 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds in a 98-69 rout of Nicholls State on Nov. 21.

He finished his Mississippi State career with 1,025 points and 640 rebounds.

Howell was an All-American at Mississippi State and a six-time NBA All-Star who is second in school history with 2,030 points and the Bulldogs' all-time leading rebounder with 1,277.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press