The U.S. Basketball Writers Association has selected five outstanding first-year players as finalists for the 2011 Wayman Tisdale Award, presented annually to the National Freshman of the Year. The Big 12 has two student-athletes among the list – Perry Jones III of Baylor and Tristan Thompson of Texas. The Conference is only one with multiple players from different schools among the finalists.
Joining Jones and Thompson on the list are Kentucky teammates Terrence Jones and Brandon Knight along with Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger. The winner will be honored at a gala banquet on Mon., April 11 at the Skirvin Hotel in Oklahoma City. The announcement of the winner will come at the USBWA Awards Breakfast on Fri., April 1 in Houston in conjunction with the NCAA Men's Final Four.
The USBWA will also present the Oscar Robertson National Player of the Year Award and the Henry Iba National Coach of the Year Award at the awards breakfast in Houston, which will also pay tribute to the legendary University of Houston "Phi Slama Jama" teams.
The USBWA has chosen a national freshman of the year since the 1988-89 season. The Big 12 has had three previous winners – T.J. Ford (Texas, 2002), Kevin Durant (Texas, 2007) and Michael Beasley (Kansas State, 2008). This season marks the first year the award has been named in Wayman Tisdale's honor.
The Tisdale Award winner will receive a statuette designed by nationally-recognized sculptor Shan Gray. The April 11 banquet, hosted by ESPN's Fran Fraschilla, will also honor Dick Vitale as the recipient of the Wayman Tisdale Humanitarian Award. A permanent Wayman Tisdale Award will be on display at the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame.
The late Wayman Tisdale was a three-time USBWA All-American at the University of Oklahoma. Following a stint on the 1984 U.S. Olympic basketball team, he played 12 seasons in the NBA before retiring in 1997 to focus on a blossoming jazz music career. In March 2007, he was diagnosed with cancer and, following a courageous and difficult battle that included the amputation of his right leg in 2008, he passed away in May 2009.
The Wayman Tisdale Freshman of the Year Award presented by Devon is produced by Access Sports, an Oklahoma City-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization committed to supporting various charitable causes, including funding prosthetic devices for needy individuals through the Wayman L. Tisdale Foundation, educational scholarships through the U.S. Basketball Writers Association, and funding of youth basketball programs throughout the state of Oklahoma through Wayman's Lightning Basketball League.
Tickets and sponsorship information for the April 11 event are available at the Tisdale Award website, access-sports.net, or by contacting Scott Hill (405-749-1515, firstname.lastname@example.org). For more information on the USBWA Awards Breakfast in Houston, including purchasing tickets, visit usbwa.com or uhletterwinners.com.
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. All-Time USBWA National Freshmen of the Year
1989 Chris Jackson, LSU
1990 Kenny Anderson, Georgia Tech
1991 Rodney Rogers, Wake Forest
1992 Chris Webber, Michigan
1993 Jason Kidd, California
1994 Joe Smith, Maryland
1995 None selected
1996 None selected
1997 None selected
1998 Larry Hughes, Saint Louis
1999 Quentin Richardson, DePaul
2000 Jason Gardner, Arizona
2001 Eddie Griffin, Seton Hall2002 T.J. Ford, Texas
2003 Carmelo Anthony, Syracuse
2004 Luol Deng, Duke
2005 Marvin Williams, North Carolina
2006 Tyler Hansbrough, North Carolina2007 Kevin Durant, Texas
2008 Michael Beasley, Kansas State
2009 Tyreke Evans, Memphis
2010 John Wall, Kentucky