The U.S. Basketball Writers Association has selected Ohio State forward Jared Sullinger as the winner of the 2011 Wayman Tisdale Award as the men’s National Freshman of the Year. Sullinger will be honored at a gala banquet on Mon., April 11 at the Skirvin Hotel in Oklahoma City. Sullinger will also be recognized at the USBWA Awards Breakfast on Fri., April 1 in Houston in conjunction with the NCAA Men’s Final Four.
Sullinger, a first-team USBWA All-American and the Big Ten Conference Freshman of the Year, has led Ohio State to a 32-2 record, the Big Ten regular-season and conference tournament championships and the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament.
The 6-9 forward from Columbus, Ohio, has started all 34 games this season and has led the team with 17.2 points and 10.1 rebounds per game while shooting 53.6 percent from the field. Four times this season Sullinger has been named the Big Ten Player of the Week. In 31 of the Buckeyes’ 34 games, he has scored in double figures while recording 17 double-doubles. His 40-point game on Dec. 9 vs. IUPUI is a school freshman record.
Sullinger is just the second player from the Big Ten to win the USBWA’s National Freshman of the Year Award, joining Michigan’s Chris Webber in 1992.
Also, for the first time, the USBWA has selected a Freshman All-America Team. In addition to Sullinger, the first team includes Harrison Barnes (North Carolina), Terrence Jones (Kentucky), Brandon Knight (Kentucky) and Tristan Thompson (Texas). Included on the the second team are Tobias Harris (Tennessee), Perry Jones III (Baylor), Cory Joseph (Texas), Kendall Marshall (North Carolina) and Doug McDermott (Creighton).
In addition to recognizing Sullinger, 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 when LSU’s Chris Jackson was the recipient. Other previous winners of the award include Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Jason Kidd and Webber. 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.
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