ST. LOUIS (USBWA) – The U.S. Basketball
Writers Association awarded two scholarships to students
attending college this year, with both recipients pursuing goals
of becoming a sportswriter.
Receiving the scholarships were Bennett Durando
of Webster Groves, Mo. and Kylee Golden of Phoenix,
Durando, a freshman in the School of Journalism Honors College
at the University of Missouri, was selected to receive a $4,000
scholarship, with $1,000 given annually for four years to the son
or daughter of a USBWA member. Durando is the son of St. Louis Post-Dispatch
sportswriter Stu Durando and former sportswriter Elizabethe Holland.
Durando credits his experience as sports editor and reporter
of his high school student newspaper, the ECHO, as key to developing
skills as a sports journalist. "I became a vocal leader," Durando
said. "I frequently advised staffers how to get informative quotes
out of interviews, to write with journalistic style and creativity,
and to report accurately and meaningfully."
He received numerous awards for his writing from the Columbia
Scholastic Press Association. He also won a scholarship from the
Al Neuharth Free Spirit and Journalism Conference and was selected
to participate in a national conference in Washington, D.C.
"Bennett has great potential to be an effective and enthusiastic
leader in the journalistic field," wrote his English teacher at
Webster Groves, Kristin Moore. "He is a young man with exceptional
integrity, and he is committed to reporting fairly and reasonably."
Durando said his love for journalism and community stretched
beyond school hours. He helped out as a counselor for a youth journalism
camp, hoping their experience at the camp sparked an appreciation
He also served as a volunteer in several community-fundraising
and service projects while in school.
"I hope to become a better leader and citizen at Mizzou and as
a professional journalist," he said. "I believe we need strong journalism
now more than ever, and that supporting it is something good citizens
Golden, a freshman at Chatham University in Pittsburgh, won a
$1,000 scholarship for her feature on Gonzaga point guard Nigel
Williams-Goss and two childhood friends who traveled to Phoenix
for this past year's NCAA Final Four. Golden's story was judged
the best entry in the USBWA's Full Court Press sports journalism
seminar and scholarship competition during the Final Four.
"It was during one of the press conferences, and Williams-Goss
was talking about his two childhood best friends who came all the
way to watch him play," Golden wrote. "I just got the idea that
would be a good angle to get his friends that have been there with
him through this entire process and now see their best friend in
the Final Four."
Golden called the friends of Williams-Goss and wrote a story
that incorporated a connection to his youth and offered personal
insight into one of the biggest players on college basketball's
biggest stage. Christi Britt, Golden's journalism teacher at Horizon
Honors Secondary School in Phoenix, had high praise for her student.
"Kylee has what it takes to be successful in anything," Britt
said. "Her initiative, drive, and love of learning will make her
a key player in any field. She knows how to write a good article.
She asks the right questions, sees through a fresh, original lens,
and has a way of capturing the essence of a moment." Golden said
she doesn't have a favorite writer, but reads the work of several
writers to gain a better perspective.
Golden has verbally committed to playing lacrosse at Chatham
University in Pittsburgh where she plans to continue working toward
her goal of becoming a sportswriter.
"I don't know if I want to stay in one specific sport," Golden
said. "I love sports in general. It's been a part of my life for
my entire life. I want to be a sports journalist. It's something
that I'm interested in. I love writing it."
The U.S. Basketball Writers Association was formed in
1956 at the urging of then-NCAA Executive Director Walter Byers.
With some 900 members worldwide, it is one of the most influential
organizations in college basketball. It has selected an All-America
team since the 1956-57 season. For more information on the USBWA
and its award programs, contact executive director Joe Mitch at