spirational senior Xzeria Denson has been named a finalist for the Jersey Mike’s Naismith High School Basketball Courage Award. Denson, a native of Ridgeland, was selected as one of 10 finalists after a nomination process that saw hundreds of entries from coaches and athletic directors across the country. The Atlanta Tipoff Club, which administers all Naismith Awards, will announce a female winner and a male winner on April 12.
The Jersey Mike’s Naismith High School Basketball Courage Award recognizes a high school basketball player who has consistently gone above and beyond throughout the basketball season and has demonstrated courage in their approach to their team, school, and community.
While navigating personal obstacles at home, Denson also overcame significant lower-body injuries each of her four years during her high school basketball career. After an ankle injury that jeopardized her senior year, Denson rehabbed at physical therapy prior to school in order to attend practices in the afternoon and return to the court before their district competition. At home, Denson is a caregiver for her father, who suffered a severe accident shortly after graduating from the police academy. His injuries required him to learn how to walk and talk again. Denson’s coach describes Xzeria as the hardest worker and an incredible leader on and off the court.
“As we evaluated the nominations and our committee ultimately selects two winners in the coming weeks, we feel it’s important to recognize all 10 finalists and celebrate them as role models in their communities,” said Eric Oberman, executive director of the Atlanta Tipoff Club. “Xzeria is an inspiration and represents everything that this award stands for.”
“We congratulate all 10 finalists for the Jersey Mike’s Naismith High School Basketball Courage Award,” said Rich Hope, chief marketing officer, Jersey Mike’s Franchise Systems, Inc. “Their courageous stories are an inspiration to us all.”
Jersey Mike’s will make a donation to the players’ high school basketball programs in honor of the two winners. Winners will be recognized at their school and through a video tribute shared across the Naismith Trophy and Jersey Mike’s websites and social accounts.
For more information about the winners, visit www.astudentabove.com.