BSU's Roberson Named Finalist for V Foundation Comeback Award
Wednesday, March 9, 2005
CARY, N.C. – Bemidji State University senior point guard James Roberson has been named as one of 18 finalists for the fifth annual V Foundation for Cancer Research Comeback Award, in an announcement by the organization Tuesday.

Roberson, who finished his playing career at BSU last weekend, overcame a tremendous amount of adversity just to get back on the court for the 2004-05 season.

As a junior Roberson was a constant in the BSU line-up. As the team went on to win 20 games for the first time in school history, capture its first NSIC regular season title since 1967 and make its first appearance in the NCAA Division II Tournament, Roberson made a name for himself. Leading the team and the conference averaging 5.76 assists per game, he set single-game (13), single-season (167) and assists per game records at BSU in 2003-04.

Immediately following the season the junior was diagnosed with a brain tumor. He underwent surgery to have the benign tumor removed just days later. After going home to recover from the surgery, doubts set about returning. But after conversations with new head coach Pat Smith and former coaches he has had along the way, he decided to come back to BSU to finish out his playing career as a Beaver.

Just seven months removed from brain surgery Roberson was back on the court contributing on a daily basis. As the season went on he only got better, stepping up his play as the conference season rolled around leading BSU to a second place finish in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference while finishing the season with averages of 10.5 points, 2.2 rebounds and a league-leading 5.0 assist per game. He wrapped his career up just 12 assists short of BSU's all-time assist record racking up 302 in just two seasons.

The V Foundation Comeback Award is open to men and women collegiate basketball student-athletes in all NCAA divisions. It is awarded to an individual or a team who has accomplished a personal triumph in the face of true adversity, be it in health, life or moral dilemma.

The annual award is presented in memory of Jim Valvano, the late basketball coach and ESPN commentator, whose personal battle with cancer inspired the creation of The V Foundation. In his memorable speech at ESPN’s inaugural ESPY Awards announcing the creation of The V Foundation, Valvano’s “Don’t Give Up. . .Don’t Ever Give Up!”® motto created a legacy from which the Comeback Award has been created.

“Once again I am amazed at the incredible strength and resilience of the student-athletes who are nominated for The V Foundation Comeback Award,” said Foundation CEO Nick Valvano. “These young people are outstanding student-athletes who have faced tremendous adversity and challenges with incredible determination and strength.

“Every one of these finalists truly captures the spirit of The V Foundation,” Valvano continued. “They have embraced the ‘Never Give Up’ attitude as they have overcome great obstacles. I would be honored to have my brother’s name be remembered with each and every one of them.”

Past recipients of the award are Purdue’s Katie Douglas (2001), Western Michigan’s Kristin Koetsier (2002), Arizona State’s Justin Allen (2003) and Texas’ Jamie Carey (2004).

More than 50 student-athletes were nominated by their institutions for the 2005 V Foundation Comeback Award. The finalists represent a wide range of compelling stories of young men and women from all types of universities, basketball programs and personal challenges. The recipient will be selected by an eight-member sub-committee of The V Foundation Board of Directors and presented to the recipient during ESPN's Final Four/NIT Weekend Coverage.

A complete list of finalists include:
Chante Bonds, Sr., Bentley College
Kayla Burt, Redshirt Jr., University of Washington
Darren Cooper, Redshirt Jr., University of Portland
Grant Dykstra, Jr., Western Washington University
The Florida State Women's Basketball Team
Cisti Greenwalt, Sr., Texas Tech University
Jeff Hemschoot, Sr., Fairleigh Dickinson University
Bernard Jackson, Sr., College of Charleston
Will Kimble, Sr., University of Texas El Paso
Marsha Kinder, Jr., Bridgewater College
Brittney Kroon, Jr., Seattle Pacific University
Tyler McKinney, Sr., Creighton University
James Roberson, Sr., Bemidji State University
Sheray Thomas, So., University of Kentucky
Nicole Vlajkovich, Jr., Bethany College
Larry Welton, Redshirt Fr., Aurora University
Amber Wheeler, Jr., Southwest Baptist University
Kitus Witherspoon, Jr., Arkansas State University