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ABA announces 2003-04 winners

March 23, 2004 - American Basketball Association (ABA) - Juarez Gallos News Release

Kansas City, MO. (March 22) Jim Clark, ABA CEO, today announced the 2003-2004 award winners for outstanding performance. The winners were selected by team owners and league officials; no team owner could vote for anyone from his own team.

Richard P. Tinkham, Jr. Award (Executive of the Year): Rafael Fitzmaurice, Juarez.

Comment: "Raphael did so many things so well. For a first season owner, he performed like a veteran of many years and was a great addition to the ABA. We are proud to have Rafael as an owner in the ABA and his organization and personal leadership ensured our collective success."

Gallos de Pelea, in their first season in the ABA, after winning the third place of the season, making a solid debut in the league now receives this recognition to the valuable effort made by Mr. Fitzmaurice to promote professional basketball in the Paso Juárez area.

Mr. Fitzmaurice put in the court a Mexican Head Coach with a lot of experience in Mexican leagues; he had no doubts of that position also having a Mexican player like Paco Morales in the roster, Toraino Johnson a high school star form El Paso who plays college in UTAH, a former Miner like Leonard Owens.

He tried to get the most of the El Paso Juárez involve with his team, Juárez became home of the championship tournaments first in ABA history, and Mr Fitzmaurice was the key to do it and help to develop a new image to the ABA.

The other winners are:

General Manager of the Year: Steve Chase, Long Beach.

Comment: "Steve is a experienced professional basketball executive and has lead an outstanding operation in every category. Long Beach was successful on and off the court and Steve quarterbacked that effort - he ran a class operation."

Coach of the Year: Earl Cureton, Long Beach.

Comment: "Long Beach won the regular season and the playoffs which is a very difficult task to accomplish with the number of NBA callups they experienced. Earl was a terrific Head Coach in the ABA this season and a well deserved award."

Offensive Player: Derrick Dial, Long Beach.

Comment: The league was full of great offensive players. Tough pick, but I gotta say Derrick Dial - he was key to the success all season for the Long Beach Jam and made crucial plays during the championship game. A veteran of the ABA from prior seasons, Derrick helped direct the team and demonstrated great offensive skills thoughout the season."

Defensive Player: Jauquin Hawkins, Long Beach.

Comment: "I think Jauquin is one of the best defensive players in any league, including the NBA. He was tenacious and truely exhibited the full-court "in your face" defensive approach that was noticed by ABA and NBA executives alike."

Most Valuable Player: Joe Crispin, Kansas City.

Comment" "He is a terrific player and a clutch performer as exhibited in the ABA playoffs in Juarez. Joe is also a leader on and off the court and contributed to all aspects of the KNIGHTS and ABA this season."

Note: OurSports Central no longer actively covers the American Basketball Association (ABA) as a professional league due in part to its inability to publish and play a schedule and the transitory nature of many of its teams. For information on professional minor leagues, please see OSC's basketball section.

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The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

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