Feb. 14, 2019
For Immediate Release
Contact: Joe Mitch
Ann Meyers Drysdale Award added to lineup
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ST. LOUIS (USBWA) The player of the year for women's basketball will be honored for the first time by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association along with the nation's top men's players and the coach of the year at the College Basketball Awards hosted by the Missouri Athletic Club in St. Louis on April 15.

The women's player of the year will be presented with the Ann Meyers Drysdale Award named for the former UCLA great. The men's awards include presentation of the Oscar Robertson Trophy to the player of the year, the Wayman Tisdale Award to the freshman of the year and the Henry Iba Award to the coach of the year.

All of the awards will be presented at a dinner at the MAC's downtown St. Louis location.

"The CBA dinner is an annual highlight on the USBWA calendar, replete with the game's luminaries," said USBWA President David Teel, columnist for the Newport News Daily Press. "We are grateful to the Missouri Athletic Club for hosting this celebration of college basketball."

The MAC was the first to host the CBA during the 2005 NCAA Final Four in St. Louis. The awards were presented at the Final Four for many years before moving to Oklahoma City for five years. After a one-year hiatus, the event returned to St. Louis last year, with the MAC successfully hosting the dinner before a sold-out crowd of over 500 people. Last fall, the USBWA and the MAC reached an agreement to hold the dinner at the MAC for the next four years.

"The Missouri Athletic Club is looking forward to continuing our partnership with the USBWA," Missouri Athletic Club President Keith Phoenix said. "Having the opportunity to recognize the accomplishments of the best in college basketball fits perfectly with our Club's tradition of celebrating athletic excellence, which began with our involvement in the 1904 Olympics and carries through today with our hosting premier sports banquets like the Jack Buck Awards and the Hermann Trophy."

Ann Meyers Drysdale is one of the first women to be inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

Time Magazine once called her one of the top 10 greatest athletes of all time. She is still the only woman to ever sign a free agent contract with an NBA team, the Indiana Pacers in 1979.

Meyers Drysdale was the first player to be part of the U.S. National team while still in high school. She led the U.S. women's team to a silver medal in the 1976 Olympics. Ann Meyers was the first woman to be signed to a four-year scholarship at UCLA and went on to become a four-time All American for the Bruins. In 1978, she was named winner of the Broderick Award as the top women's collegiate player in the country.

She currently is a vice president for the Phoenix Suns. "Annie was one of the best players ever," said Boston Celtics great Bill Russell. "I didn't say male or female. I said ever."

The men's player of the year award is named after one of the greatest players in college basketball history, Oscar Robertson. The Oscar Robertson Trophy is the only player of the year award named for a player. "The Big O" was the first player of the year selected by the USBWA in 1959. The USBWA named the award after Robertson in 1998.

Previous player of the year winners include: Anthony Davis, Kentucky (2012), Blake Griffin, Oklahoma (2009), Kevin Durant, Texas (2007), Michael Jordan, North Carolina (1984), Ralph Sampson, Virginia (1981, '82, '83), Larry Bird, Indiana State (1979), Bill Walton, UCLA (1972, '73, '74), Lew Alcindor, UCLA (1967, '68) and Jalen Brunson, Villanova, last year.

The freshman of the year award honors the late Oklahoma standout Wayman Tisdale. Tisdale was a three-time USBWA All-American and was the first freshman ever to be named a first-team All-American by the USBWA. Tisdale passed away in 2009 following a courageous and difficult battle with cancer.

Past freshman of the year winners include Lonzo Ball, UCLA (2017), Anthony Davis, Kentucky (2012), Larry Hughes, St. Louis (1998) and Trae Young, Oklahoma (2018).

The coach of the year award is named for the legendary Henry Iba, who is recognized as one of the greatest college coaches of all time. Iba won 655 games in his career and led Oklahoma A&M (now Oklahoma State) to NCAA championships in 1945 and 1946. He also coached the U. S. Olympic teams to gold medals in 1964 and 1968 and a silver medal in 1972.

Coaches who have the award in the past include Bill Self, Kansas (2009), Roy Williams, twice with North Carolina (2006) and Kansas (1990), Charlie Spoonhour, St. Louis (1994), Bob Knight, twice with Indiana (1989, '75), John Wooden, five times with UCLA (1967, '70, '71, '72, '73) and Tony Bennett, two times with Virginia (2015, '18) and once with Washington State (2007).

All of the player and coach awards are voted on at the end of the regular season by the USBWA membership.

Tickets for the dinner go on sale to the public on March 15 at collegebasketballawards.eventbrite.com. Tickets are $150 per person and include dinner, drinks and parking in the MAC garage. Sponsorship opportunities are available by contacting Jim Wilson at the MAC at 314-539-4488.

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.