Dec. 16, 2014
For Immediate Release
Contact: Joe Mitch
Center is second straight Blue Devil the snag the honor
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ST. LOUIS (USBWA) Duke's Jahlil Okafor is the Wayman Tisdale National Freshman of the Week for games ending the week of Dec. 15. Okafor was selected by's Matt Norlander, in partnership with the U.S. Basketball Writers Association.

Norlander's popular weekly freshman watch column will continue to feature nation's the top freshmen each week in addition to the national player of the week. Later in the season, the USBWA will release a midseason watch list before naming finalists for the award. This season marks the first time a weekly national freshman of the week will be selected and, each Tuesday through Feb. 24, a standout first-year player will be chosen for the honor.

Okafor, a 6-11 center from Chicago, became the sixth player in Duke history and thr third freshman in ACC history to put up at least 20 points and snag 20 rebounds in a game. Okafor finished with a career-best 25 points and 20 boards in Duke's 75-62 victory against Elon on Monday night.

The Integris Wayman Tisdale Award is to be presented to the national freshman of the year at the Devon Energy College Basketball Awards on April 14, 2015, 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 to be held annually following the NCAA Men's Final Four.

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, Duke's Jabari Parker became the fourth winner of the Wayman Tisdale Award. Other notable previous winners of the national freshman of the year award include Anthony Davis, 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 15 banquet will also honor Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, 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 or by contacting Scott Hill (405-640-0406,

The U.S. Basketball Writers Association was formed in 1956 at the urging of then-NCAA Executive Director Walter Byers. With more than 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.

Related links:
Matt Norlander's Wayman Tisdale Award Watch (Dec. 9)
Integris Wayman Tisdale Award

2014-15 Wayman Tisdale National Freshmen of the Week
Week ending Dec. 7: Tyus Jones, Duke (Atlantic Coast Conference)
Week ending Dec. 14: Jahlil Okafor, Duke (Atlantic Coast Conference)
Week ending Dec. 21: Elijah Stewart, USC (Pac-12 Conference)
Week ending Dec. 28: Tyler Ulis, Kentucky (Southeastern Conference)
Week ending Jan. 4: Jahlil Okafor, Duke (Atlantic Coast Conference)
Week ending Jan. 11: Kevon Looney, UCLA (Pac-12 Conference)
Week ending Jan. 18: Stanley Johnson, Arizona (Pac-12 Conference)
Week ending Jan. 25: D'Angelo Russell, Ohio State (Big Ten Conference)
Week ending Feb. 1: Jared Terrell, Rhode Island (Atlantic 10 Conference)
Week ending Feb. 8: D'Angelo Russell, Ohio State (Big Ten Conference)
Week ending Feb. 15: Karl-Anthony Towns, Kentucky (Southeastern Conference)
Week ending Feb. 22: Tyus Jones, Duke (Atlantic Coast Conference)

Related Link:
Integris Wayman Tisdale Award (from