Web Release: go.rutgers.edu/nlkqpiu1
Senior CLASS Award Release: t.ly/XgEP
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – Rutgers women’s basketball’s Arella Guirantes has been named one of 10 national finalists for the 2020-21 Senior CLASS Award®, which honors excellence in community, classroom, character and competition among the best-of-the-best across the country. She is the lone representative for the prestigious award from the Big Ten Conference.
To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in those four areas. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.
The finalists were chosen by a selection committee from the list of 30 women’s candidates announced earlier in the season. Nationwide fan voting begins immediately to help select the winner, and fans are encouraged to submit votes online at the Senior CLASS Award website through March 22. Fan votes will be combined with those of the media and Division I head coaches to determine the winners. The Senior CLASS Award recipients will be announced during the 2021 NCAA Women’s Final Four®.
Guirantes is the fourth player from the Rutgers women’s basketball program to receive the prestigious candidacy, joining Essence Carson (2007), Cappie Pondexter (2006) and Chelsea Newton (2005). This past summer, Guirantes had the chance to follow the footsteps of those three alumni and enter the WNBA draft, but decided to return to the Scarlet Knights for her senior year.
CLASSROOM: A 2020 Rutgers graduate with a degree in journalism and media studies, Guirantes is studying toward a master’s degree in global sports business. Recent practicum included an interview with Billie Jean King and an internship with ICM Partners.
CHARACTER: An indelible spokeswoman for her team and the game of women’s basketball, Guirantes is a respected extension of the coaching staff on the court. Guirantes’ leadership took center stage this season when a teammate went down with a serious injury. Guirantes rallied her teammates to carry on and finish the game and was the first to check on the hurt teammate after the victory.
COMMUNITY: Guirantes volunteered with the Somerset Community Action Program over the past two years, conducting physical education classes for youths. Guirantes will also continue her work on the Global Citizens Project with speaking engagements at local high schools, where she shares her basketball and education experience and their impact on her life. This past Christmas, Guirantes sent a personal video of encouragement and motivation to hospitalized children at RWJBarnabas Health.
COMPETITION: Thirteen games into the 2020-21 campaign, the Bellport, N.Y. native has already claimed an ESPN National Player of the Week honor, two Big Ten Player of the Week accolades and two Big Ten Honon Roll nods, while becoming just the third player in Rutgers history to record a triple-double. She ranks 15th in the nation in scoring (22.2 points per game) to go with 5.9 rpg, 5.2 apg, 2.2 spg and 2.2 bpg in 2020-21 with a trio of 30-plus-point performances against then-No. 14 Maryland, Iowa, who was receiving votes in the national polls, and at Purdue. Guirantes is the only player in the Big Ten to rank in the Top 5 in each of the points, assists, steals and blocks per game categories.
For more information on each of the candidates, please visit http://www.seniorclassaward.com.
2020-2021 Senior CLASS Award Women’s Basketball Finalists
Rennia Davis, University of Tennessee Michaela Onyenwere, University of California, LA
Dana Evans, University of Louisville Ilmar’l Thomas, University of Cincinnati
Arella Guirantes, Rutgers University Unique Thompson, Auburn University
Blanca Millan, University of Maine Jill Townsend, Gonzaga University
Nancy Mulkey, Rice University Mariah White, Cleveland State
COURTESY RUTGERS ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS