United States Basketball Writers Association Feb. 23, 2005
For Immediate Release
Contact: Joe Mitch
Junior is leading scorer at Western Washington

ST. LOUIS (USBWA) Grant Dykstra, who transformed himself into an all-around college basketball player at Western Washington University despite having partial use of his right arm due to a childhood accident, has been selected to receive the U.S. Basketball Writers Association Most Courageous Award for 2005.

Dykstra will be presented with the award on April 4 in St. Louis during the NCAA Final Four.

Dykstra's right arm was mangled in a grain auger when he was two and required 16 surgeries over the next 10 years and hours of physical therapy to regain strength and movement in his arm. He taught himself to shoot a basketball left-handed and learned to dribble with both hands.

"We are pleased to honor Grant Dykstra for what has been a lifetime of courage," said Robyn Norwood, sports writer for the Los Angeles Times and USBWA president.

Dykstra, a 6-4 junior guard/forward from Everson, Wash., is the leading scorer on Western Washington's NCAA Division II nationally-ranked team this season with a 17.5 scoring average and is third in rebounding at 5.5 per game. He led the Vikings in scoring last season and was team MVP.

Dykstra was born in a basketball family. His father, Glen, was one of the best high school players in his county's history. His brother, Greg, and sister, Shannon, were all-state players in high school. It was Dykstra's goal to play basketball while growing up and hastened his recovery.

"Basketball helped him rehab faster and more completely," said his father. "Having a cast on his hand never stopped him from having a basketball in his hand."

The USBWA award is presented annually to recognize a player, coach, game official or administrator who has demonstrated extraordinary courage reflecting honor on the sport of amateur basketball. The USBWA has been presenting a Most Courageous Award since 1979.

Past recipients include former North Carolina State coach and ESPN/ABC analyst Jim Valvano for his battle with cancer; Arkansas coach Nolan Richardson for the racial prejudice he faced in life and the death of his daughter to leukemia while he was coaching; and last year's winner Trey Schwab, a Marquette assistant coach who underwent double-lung transplant.

Related links:
Grant Dykstra bio (from wwuvikings.com)
USBWA Most Courageous Award