Oct. 23, 2018
For Immediate Release
Contact: Joe Mitch
Association continues tradition to aid aspiring writers
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ST. LOUIS (USBWA) The USBWA has awarded two college scholarships this year as part of the association's Steve Guback Scholarship program honoring the late executive director and past president of the USBWA.

The first to receive a scholarship was Drew King, a May graduate from the University of Texas at Austin. King received a grant from the USBWA for $1,000. He was chosen from a group of more than 30 students that attended the Larry Donald Memorial "Full Court Press" sportswriting seminar at the NCAA Men's Final Four last April.

The second scholarship was awarded to Jack Theisen, son of USBWA member and Kansas SID Chris Theisen. Jack Theisen receives $1,000 annually from the USBWA for four years. The scholarship is awarded each year to the son or daughter of a USBWA member.

The Guback scholarships are in honor of the former executive director of the USBWA from 1977-83. Guback, who passed away earlier this month, also served as president of the USBWA in 1976-77.

The sportswriting seminar is named for Donald, who was the founder of Basketball Times and a past president of the USBWA. Donald served two years as USBWA president in 1986-87 and 1987-88. He is the only two-term president in the history of the USBWA. Donald passed away in 2000.

King, who hails from Tyler, Texas, spent two years in Austin after earning his associate's degree in history from Tyler Junior College.

King spent just under two years at The Daily Texan, covering women's basketball as well as track and field. He also hosted a radio talk show for KVRX-FM during this time. He also spent three months as a production intern at the KRWR radio station in Tyler before his senior year. During his final semester in Austin, King freelanced for the Dallas Morning News and wrote long-form stories and covered the first two rounds of the NCAA women's basketball tournament in Austin for Women's Hoops World. After graduating, King accepted a job at the San Marcos Daily Record in Texas as a sports reporter.

King said that his passion for sports led him to sports journalism. "I had always loved sports, so my last semester (in Tyler) I took a couple of communications courses and I really enjoyed it," King said.

King's winning story looked at Phil Booth's role in Villanova's national title run. Booth won his second title at Villanova in three years after being forced to redshirt in 2016-2017 because of an injury.

Kevin Robbins, a Senior Lecturer in the School of Journalism at Texas, said that King's victory wasn't surprising because of how hard he works. "He's a guy who gets his work done," Robbins said. "Overall, he takes himself and his work seriously. I knew the quality of his story and I'm glad it won."

Theisen is the son of Chris Theisen, Kansas' sports information director at Kansas since 2004.

"Receiving this scholarship would be a tribute to my dad," Jack Theisen wrote in his application for the award. "His commitment to his profession has taught me the value of hard work."

Theisen was named valedictorian at Lawrence's Free State High School, maintaining a perfect 4.0 grade-point average while taking advanced and college prep courses for four years.

Theisen also played four sports football, basketball, baseball and track and field and was named second-team all-league tight end during his senior season for a Free State football team that was ranked No. 1 in Class 6A for eight weeks and finished 10-1.

"Balancing school with my extracurricular activities was challenging," Theisen wrote, "but very rewarding."

Theisen was also committed to volunteer service and community involvement. During his junior and senior years of high school, he performed approximately 70 hours of community service with a variety of organizations, such as Boys and Girls Club, Lawrence Luncheon Optimists, Free State Link program and Cub Scouts.

"In addition to all these things, he is a great kid," wrote Tracie Miller, a friend of the family since Theisen was in elementary school. "We have enjoyed lots of time watching Jack in these various activities and have witnessed that he is a great person. We are excited for him and looking forward to watching what he does next."

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 314-795-6821.