Thomas Robinson And Angel Goodrich Named Finalists For 2011 V Foundation Comeback Award

March 3, 2011

CARY, N.C. –

030311aaa_387_4506260.jpegThe V Foundation for Cancer Research has announced the finalists for the eleventh annual V Foundation Comeback Award with University of Kansas sophomores Thomas Robinson and Angel Goodrich each finding their name on the list. The award is presented in conjunction with ESPN and the recipient will be announced during ESPN’s basketball tournament coverage in early April.

Robinson and Goodrich have both come back from multiple setbacks to become integral parts of their respective Jayhawk team’s success this season.

During the 2010-11 season, Thomas suffered through the deaths of three immediate family members (grandmother, grandfather, mother) in a span of 21 days, plus a slight meniscus tear in his right knee that sidelined him for three games. His only remaining family member is an older brother who has been out of his life for years, and his seven-year old sister Jayla.

He missed Kansas’ Jan. 5 game to attend his grandmother’s funeral in Washington D.C. A week and half later he lost his grandfather, but his mother insisted Thomas not attend the funeral (since it was so shortly following his return to Kansas). On the evening before KU played Texas, his sister called him with the shocking news that his mother had suddenly passed away at the young age of 43.

Mourning with his teammates all night, he went ahead and played against Texas saying it was what his mother would want him to do. Returning to Washington D.C., the 19-year old planned his mother’s funeral and hired a law firm to set up a fund to honor his mother and assist with his sister’s education expenses. Following rehab for the Feb. 7 injury, he returned to the court, providing Jayhawk nation with inspiration on and off of the court.

030311aaa_387_4511041.jpegGoodrich arrived at Kansas in 2009 after a stellar high school career. In just her second collegiate practice, she suffered a torn ACL in her left knee and spent the rest the rest of the year in rehab. Goodrich led the Jayhawks to a nine-week stay in the national polls and an 11-3 non-conference record to open the 2009-10 season, which included being the fastest player in KU history to record 100 assists. However, just 15 games into her redshirt freshman season she tore the ACL in her right knee, along with suffering meniscus damage, ending her year early.

Following more rehab, Goodrich returned for her sophomore season and after three games was forced to the bench for seven games after requiring surgery to repair scar tissue from the second ACL surgery. She returned to the court for good in mid-December and is currently first in the Big 12 in assists in overall games and in conference play and ranks 10th in the nation in assists.

Goodrich has turned in great stats in helping KU to a 19-10 overall mark, including three double-figure scoring and assist games and she also set an Allen Fieldhouse (men and women) assist record with 15 dimes in an upset win vs. #20 Iowa State.

Goodrich is active in many community service projects and has adopted a local elementary school in KU’s Schools for Success program. Of Native American descent, she serves as a role model in the Native American community, speaking to local groups about persevering though hard times and overcoming obstacles.

The other finalists are: Jessica Breland, North Carolina; Dawn Evans, James Madison; Jacki Gemelos, USC; Levi Knutson, Colorado; Andrea “Drey” Mingo, Purdue; Cory Pflieger, Rice; Kim Rodgers, Maryland; Krystal Thomas, Duke; and Whitney Hand, Oklahoma.

The annual award is open to men and women collegiate basketball student-athletes in all 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. Student-athletes are nominated by their athletics department representative.

The 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 was created.

“This year’s finalists forThe V Foundation Comeback Award truly exemplify courage and determination in the face of adversity,” said V Foundation CEO Nick Valvano. “The nominees are exemplary young people who embody The V Foundation’s “Don’t Give Up” attitude.”

The 2011 recipient will be selected by a six-member sub-committee of The V Foundation Board of Directors. Past recipients of the award are: Katie Douglas, Purdue (2001); Kristin Koetsier, Western Michigan (2002); Justin Allen, Arizona State (2003); Jamie Carey, Texas (2004); Kayla Burt, Washington (2005); Grant Dykstra, Western Washington (2006); the United States Military Academy Women’s Basketball Team (2007); Nicole Hester, Drexel (2008); Tiffara Steward, Farmingdale State (2009); Dallas Blocker, Youngstown State (2010).