Zeller named finalist for Wayman Tisdale Freshman of the Year award

No surprise there. He joins Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist of Kentucky, Tony Wroten Jr. of Washington, and Austin Rivers of Duke as a finalist for the prestigious award, naming the top freshman in the country.

ST. LOUIS (USBWA) – The U.S. Basketball Writers Association has selected five outstanding first-year players as finalists for the 2012 Wayman Tisdale Award, to be presented to the men’s National Freshman of the Year at a gala banquet on Mon., April 16 at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. The announcement of the winner will come at the USBWA College Basketball Awards Breakfast on Fri., March 30 in New Orleans in conjunction with the NCAA Men’s Final Four.

Kentucky teammates Anthony Davis (Chicago, Ill.) and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kentucky (Somerdale, N.J.) join Duke’s Austin Rivers(Winter Park, Fla), Washington’s Tony Wroten (Seattle, Wash.) and Indiana’s Cody Zeller (Washington, Ind.) as the 2012 Wayman Tisdale Award finalists.

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 New Orleans, which will also pay tribute to the legendary LSU coach Dale Brown and his 1981 and ‘86 NCAA Final Four teams.

The USBWA has chosen a national freshman of the year since the 1988-89 season when LSU’s Chris Jackson was the recipient. Last season, Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger became the winner of the first Wayman Tisdale Award. Other previous winners of the award include Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Jason Kidd and Chris Webber.

The Tisdale Award winner will receive a statuette designed by nationally-recognized sculptor Shan Gray. The April 16 banquet will also honor Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski as the recipient of the Wayman Tisdale Humanitarian Award.

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 16 event are available at the Tisdale Award website, access-sports.net, or by contacting Scott Hill (405-749-1515, scott.hill@access-sports.net). For more information on the USBWA Awards Breakfast in New Orleans, including purchasing tickets, visit usbwa.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. It has selected an All-America team since the 1956-57 season. For more information on the USBWA and its award programs, contact executive director Joe Mitch at 314-444-4325.

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 Hall
2002 T.J. Ford, Texas
2003 Carmelo Anthony, Syracuse
2004 Luol Deng, Duke
2005 Marvin Williams, North Carolina
2006 Tyler Hansbrough, North Carolina
2007 Kevin Durant, Texas
2008 Michael Beasley, Kansas State
2009 Tyreke Evans, Memphis
2010 John Wall, Kentucky
2011 Jared Sullinger, Ohio State

One comment

  1. When you really think about this improbable season, one of the more shocking things truly is that, with all the “savior” hype, this freshman has lived up to all expectations (especially in conference play).

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