Feb. 28, 2007

ST. LOUIS (USBWA) – A pair of freshmen are among the USBWA’s five finalists for the Oscar Robertson Trophy, given to the nation’s player of the year.

Freshmen Kevin Durant of Texas and Greg Oden of Ohio State are among a group that includes Wisconsin senior forward Alando Tucker, Florida junior forward Joakim Noah and North Carolina sophomore forward Tyler Hansbrough.

Durant, a 6-foot-9 swingman, is fifth in the nation in scoring (24.7) and fourth in rebounding (11.3). Among his highlights are a 37-point performance in a double-overtime loss to Oklahoma State and a 37-point, 23-rebound game against Texas Tech. He has 17 double-doubles and seven 30-point games this season.

Hansbrough, the 2006 USBWA Freshman of the Year, is third in the ACC in scoring (18.7) and has averaged 7.6 rebounds per game. The 6-9 sophomore is shooting 53.0 percent from the field.

Noah, who helped lead the Gators to a national title a year ago, is averaging 12.0 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. while shooting 61.6 percent from the field.

The 7-foot Oden, who averages 15.3 points and 9.5 rebounds, has led the Buckeyes to a No. 1 ranking despite wrist surgery that delayed his debut until Dec. 2. He leads the Big Ten in rebounding, field goal percentage (60.9) and blocks (3.5).

Tucker, who averages 19.9 points (2nd in the Big Ten) and 5.4 rebounds, has been the best player on one of the nation’s best teams. The Badgers have set a school record with 26 wins with the 6-6 forward leading the way.

Following is the complete list of 2007 Oscar Robertson Trophy finalists:

Player, School Pos. Ht. Wt. Cl. Hometown
Kevin Durant, Texas G/F 6-9 225 Fr. Suitland, Md.
Tyler Hansbrough, North Carolina F 6-9 245 So. Poplar Bluff, Mo.
Joakim Noah, Florida F 6-11 230 Jr. New York, N.Y.
Greg Oden, Ohio State C 7-0 280 Fr. Indianapolis. Ind.
Alando Tucker, Wisconsin F 6-6 205 Sr. Lockport, Ill.

The Oscar Robertson Trophy, named after whom many consider the greatest college basketball player ever, is selected in voting by members of the USBWA. Established in 1959, it is the nation’s oldest college basketball player of the year award. The USBWA named the award for Robertson in 1998.

Robertson was a three-time player of the year from 1958-60 at the University of Cincinnati and was the first player in NCAA history to lead the nation in scoring for three straight seasons.

In 2005, world-renowned St. Louis sculptor Harry Weber was commissioned to produce an 18-inch bronze sculpture of Oscar Robertson in his famous spread-eagle pose.

A replica of the statue will be awarded to the player of the year at the USBWA’s annual awards breakfast at Philips Arena in Atlanta on Friday, March 30.

The Henry Iba Award will also be presented to the national college coach of the year at the breakfast. The Iba Award is named after legendary Oklahoma A&M and U.S. Olympic team coach Henry Iba, who led A&M to back-to-back national championships in 1945 and ’46.

A portion of the proceeds from the breakfast will be donated to the National Kidney Foundation, Oscar Robertson’s charity of choice. Oscar donated a kidney several years ago to his daughter who was suffering from a life-threatening kidney disease.