ST. LOUIS (USBWA) – The U.S. Basketball Writers Association has selected 10 outstanding first-year players as finalists for its 2015 Integris Wayman Tisdale Award. Members of the association's board of directors chose the players to be included on the list as contenders for the national freshman of the year award.
Ballots for this season's USBWA men's honors will be distributed today and the the association will announce the winner of the 2015 Integris Wayman Tisdale Award on Mon., March 16.
The award is to be officially presented to the national freshman of the year at the Devon Energy College Basketball Awards on April 14 at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. The Oscar Robertson Trophy and the Henry Iba Coach of the Year Award will also be presented at the gala that is held annually the week following the NCAA Men's Final Four.
Two of the finalists, Duke's Jahlil Okafor and Ohio State's D'Angelo Russell, are also finalists for the Oscar Robertson Trophy as candidates for the USBWA's national player of the year. A trio of teammates from Duke (Okafor, Tyus Jones, and Justise Winslow) highlights the list. Top-ranked and unbeaten Kentucky also features teammates –Devin Booker and Karl-Anthony Towns – among the lauded players.
Following is the complete list of finalists:
This season, in a continued partnership with CBSSports.com and columnist Matt Norlander, the USBWA has named a weekly Wayman Tisdale National Freshman of the Week. Five of the ten finalists (Stanley Johnson, Tyus Jones, Jahlil Okafor, D'Angelo Russell and Karl-Anthony Towns) have all been selected as national freshman of the week this season.
The Tisdale Award winner will receive a statuette designed by nationally-recognized sculptor Shan Gray. The April 14 banquet will also honor Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim 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 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 or by contacting Scott Hill (405-640-0406, firstname.lastname@example.org).
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 314-795-6821.
• Integris Wayman Tisdale Award