The Nashville City Civitan Club handed out its annual Hancock/Nipper basketball sportsmanship awards to 22 high school and collegiate athletes during a luncheon at Swett’s restaurant Wednesday.
The awards, presented annually at the end of basketball season, are given to the players who best exemplify sportsmanship and leadership in honor of former Metro Nashville Public Schools principal A.D. Hancock and Nashville Sporting Goods owner Walter Nipper.
The boys’ high school recipients were Evan Ragsdale (CPA), Jaret Greer (Goodpasture), Edwin Brodnax (Hillsboro), Zell Walker (Nashville Christian), and Keshon Moore (Whites Creek), while the girls’ recipients were Brooke Smith (Cane Ridge), Chelsea Burt (CPA), Le’Jzae Davidson (East Nashville), Marci Sneed (Ezell-Harding) and Paige Randolph (Goodpasture).
Brodnax was just one of three high school players to be honored Wednesday who was not a senior.
Hillsboro coach Rodney Thweatt said some nice things about his sophomore guard, but he also said that Brodnax being an underclassman made it difficult to give him high praise during the luncheon.
“I’m going to leave it at that, because I’m going to start yelling at him in about two hours,” Thweatt said.
The collegiate winners were Jeff Laidig and Sierra Jones (Belmont), Nathan Mungo and Nailah Whitlock (Fisk), Charles Smith and Alex Banks (Lipscomb), Demontez Loman and Imani Davis (TSU), Percy Blade and Sarah Raby (Trevecca) and Luke Kornet and Minta Spears (Vanderbilt).
District 10-AA swept the coach of the year awards with Whites Creek’s Carlton Battle taking the boys award and East Nashville’s Lois Donaldson the girls.
It was a special year for both squads.
Battle helped lead Whites Creek to the state semifinals after finishing the season winless just two years ago.
“It means everything to me,” Battle said. “This is a story that I’m going to share with my son. What it means to be a good person, always doing the right thing, having good character and treating people the right way. That’s what I would like my kids to grow up to be.”
Donaldson led the Lady Eagles to the school’s first state championship for any sport. It was her second state title, also winning in 1993 at Coffee County.
“Every day we came in was a joy,” she said. “They could sense something special was going to happen so they wanted to stay and be a part of it as long as they possibly could.”
Reach Sam Brown at 615-259-8232 and on Twitter @SamBrownTN.