Kansas freshmen Joel Embiid and Andrew Wiggins have been named to the 2014 U.S. Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) Freshman All-America Team, the organization announced.
The 2014 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, Embiid broke the KU freshman record for blocked shots with 72 and his 2.6 blocked shots per game finished out the conference slate ranked second in the league. Named to the 2014 All-Big 12 Second Team, the 7-0 Yaoundé, Cameroon, center leads KU with 8.1 rebounds per game. Embiid is shooting 62.6 percent from the field and averages 11.2 points. Additionally, Embiid is one of 30 listed as a Naismith Men’s College Player of the Year Award candidate.
Wiggins scored a Kansas freshman record 41 points at West Virginia in KU’s regular-season finale on March 8 and added 30 points in KU’s overtime victory against Oklahoma State in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Championship, March 13. He would later be named to the Big 12 Championship All-Tournament Team, which included a 22-point effort against Iowa State in the semifinals on March 14.
Wiggins, from Vaughan, Ontario, Canada, leads Kansas with a 17.4-point scoring average, the best among Big 12 freshmen and fifth overall in the NCAA’s No. 1 RPI conference. Wiggins is the team leader with 40 steals and his 6.0 rebounding average is third on the team.
KU’s first Big 12 Freshman of the Year since the 2006 season, Wiggins was also a unanimous All-Big 12 First Team selection. He picked up various accolades throughout the year, including Big 12 Newcomer of the Week on three different occasions and was the Wayman Tisdale National Freshman of the Week on Jan. 28. Additionally, he is on most every national player and freshman of the year ballot.
The USBWA has chosen a national freshman of the year since the 1988-89 season. Last year, Oklahoma State's Marcus Smart became the third winner of the Wayman Tisdale Award. Other Big 12 winners of the top freshman honor include Michael Beasley (K-State, 2007-08), Kevin Durant (Texas, 2006-07) and T.J. Ford (Texas, 2001-02).
The Integris Wayman Tisdale Freshman of the Year Award is produced by Access Sports, an Oklahoma City-based 501(c)(3) not-for-profit foundation responsible for creating the Wayman Tisdale Freshman of the Year Award. Access Sports produces all events associated with the award, including the annual awards dinner. Proceeds from the activities affiliated with the award are used to support various worthy charitable causes, including providing opportunities for disadvantaged youth to participate in basketball leagues, clinics, and training throughout the state. In addition, Access Sports supports the Wayman L. Tisdale Foundation which helps fund prosthetics for those who cannot afford the cost on their own and may not be covered by insurance.
Tickets and sponsorship information for the Devon Energy College Basketball Awards are available at collegebasketballawards.com.