ST. LOUIS (USBWA) – Arizona center Deandre Ayton
is the Wayman Tisdale National Freshman of the Week
for games ending the week of Dec. 10. Ayton was selected by CBSSports.com's
Matt Norlander, in partnership with the U.S. Basketball
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. 27, a standout
first-year player will be chosen for the honor.
Norlander writes of the Nassau, Bahamas, product: "(Ayton)
is coming into his own. He had a career high of 29 points and 18
rebounds in Arizona's 88-82 home win over Alabama on Saturday. That
game was stacked with talent. Rawle Alkins made his Arizona debut,
Alabama freshman dynamo Collin Sexton kept his team in it. But Ayton
was a force. He showed why he's going to remain in the discussion
for the No. 1 pick. He cannot be handle one-on-one. His shooting
skill set is such a valuable piece – and let's not forget that Sean
Miller is one season removed from riding another 7-footer, Lauri
Markkanen, to a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Ayton's a different player than Markkanen, and much more dangerous
all around. On the week Ayton averaged 21 points (on 16-of-27 shooting)
and 14 rebounds. Arizona defeated seventh-ranked Texas A&M last
Tuesday. That was the deciding factor in favor of Ayton this week.
It wasn't just career highs in points and boards, but the fact he
was really good in two straight games against teams that should
make it into the NCAA Tournament."
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 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 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
2017-18 Wayman Tisdale National Freshmen of the Week
Week ending Dec. 3: Trae Young, Oklahoma (Big 12
• Week ending Dec. 10: Deandre
Ayton, Arizona (Pac-12 Conference)
ending Dec. 17: David Jenkins Jr., South Dakota State (Summit League)
ending Dec. 24: Trae Young, Oklahoma (Big 12 Conference)
ending Dec. 31: Mohamed Bamba, Texas (Big 12 Conference)
ending Jan. 7: McKinely Wright IV, Colorado (Pac-12 Conference)
ending Jan. 14: Trae Young, Oklahoma (Big 12 Conference)