The University of Nevada's senior captain, Tahnee Robinson, Eastern Shoshone, has been named a semi-finalist for the 2010 Sullivan Award, a national award that predates the Heisman Award, and is bestowed on the nation's outstanding amateur athlete. The award has been presented annually by the American Athletic Union (AAU) since 1930, named after the founder and president of the AAU, James E. Sullivan, and is based on the qualities of leadership, character, sportsmanship, honoring those who not only perform well in their sport but also show "strong moral character" off the court as well.
Robinson is one of 12 semi-finalists in the running, along with Cameron Newton, the quarterback for the Auburn University, Maya Moore, a forward for the University of Connecticut's basketball team, and Evan Lysacek, an Olympic figure skater and ranked number one in the world last year by the International Skating Union.
Robinson is the only American Indian on the list of semi-finalists. She grew up on the Wind River Reservation in Fort Washakie, Wyoming. She's been a McDonald's and Gatorade All-American. In 2010, Robinson was the 8th best scorer in the country, netting 22.7 points per game, while hitting a 15th best 3.1 three-pointers per game. She's piled up the accolades, from being named (twice) the Western Athletic Conference Player of the Week, the MVP of the Caribbean Classic due to averaging 24.5 points per game, and placed on the John Ascuaga's Nugget Classic All-Tournament Team.
“Tahnee’s biggest achievements have been off the court this year,” Nevada head couch Jane Albright said in a statement released after Robinson was named as a semi-finalist. Robinson transferred to Nevada from Sheridan College, managing a significant academic load atop her basketball schedule.
“During this year she has learned to discipline herself as an athlete, student and person. She has worked so hard to graduate this summer and has spent so much of her personal time to serve as a role model for the Native American Community in Northern Nevada. She is truly one of the most impressive people I’ve ever coached in my 26 years of coaching.”
A public vote through USA Today will select the winner of the award. Anyone wishing to vote for the award can do so here.