ST. LOUIS (USBWA) – The U.S. Basketball
Writers Association has selected four outstanding players
as finalists for its 2018-19 Oscar Robertson Trophy
– two of which join a pair of freshmen as finalists for the
Wayman Tisdale Award – and seven coaches as finalists
for the Henry Iba Award.
With nominations from the entire USBWA membership, the association's
board of directors chose the finalists for the National Player
of the Year, National Freshman Player of the Year and National Coach of the
Year, respectively. All names will be placed on a final ballot to
be sent to the membership today.
The Henry Iba Award winner will be announced on Mon., March 25,
with the Wayman Tisdale Award winner announced the next day Tues.,
March 26. The Oscar Robertson Trophy winner will be presented by
its namesake on Fri., April 5 at the NCAA Final Four in Minneapolis.
All three award winners will be honored at the USBWA College
Basketball Awards Dinner at the Missouri Athletic Club in St. Louis
on Mon., April 15. Public tickets for the dinner are on sale 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
Three highlight-grabbing freshmen from the Atlantic Coast Conference
are on the combined list of finalists – Duke teammates RJ
Barrett and Zion Williamson are Oscar
Robertson Trophy finalists, and Coby White of North
Carolina joins them as finalists for the Wayman Tisdale
Award. Murray State's dynamic playmaking phenom
Ja Morant is also an Oscar Robertson Trophy finalist,
as is Tennessee junior Grant Williams, who has
kept the Vols among the nation's top-ranked teams throughout
the season. Standout shooter Antoine Davis of Detroit
Mercy is the fourth finalist for the Wayman Tisdale Award.
Barrett, a 6-7 forward from Mississauga, Ont., will extend both
his Duke and ACC single-season freshman scoring records as the Blue
Devils begin this week's NCAA Tournament as the No. 1 seed in the
East Region. His 779 points this season is the ACC record for a
freshman he'll likely set both the Duke and ACC
freshman scoring average marks currently held by Duke's Marvin Bagley
III (21.0). He is the only major conference player to score 13 or
more points in every game this season.
Williamson, a 6-7 forward from Spartanburg, S.C., is the nation's
only player averaging 20-plus points and shooting 65 percent from
the field, despite missing the last five games of the regular season.
Player of the Year is shooting 69.3 percent from the field, which
leads the ACC and is second nationally. If that holds, it would
be the second-best shooting season in ACC history behind UNC's Brendan
Haywood (.697 in 1999-2000). The ACC Tournament champions open the
NCAA Tournament in Columbia, S.C. on Friday.
Barrett (22.9 points per game) and Williamson (22.1) are the
first freshman teammates to earn USBWA first-team All-America
honors and they are aiming
to become the first freshman teammates in NCAA history to each average
20-plus points per game in a season.
Williams, a 6-7 forward from Charlotte, N.C., secured his second
straight Southeastern Conference Player of the Year award, the first
to repeat as the winner since Corliss Williamson of Arkansas in
1994 and '95 and only the 10th to ever earn it in back-to-back seasons.
He is only the second Tennessee player to earn first-team All-America
honors in the last 39 years. The SEC scoring leader at 19.0 points
per game is also among the SEC's top 10 in field goal percentage
(2nd, .565), rebounding (4th, 7.6 rpg) and free-throw percentage
(7th, .826). Tennessee, the No. 2 seed in the South Region, opens
NCAA Tournament play Friday against Colgate in Columbus, Ohio.
Morant, a 6-3 sophomore guard from Dalzell, S.C., is headed into
the record books as well. The Ohio Valley Conference Player of the
Year is on track to become the first player to average 20 points
and 10 assists per game since the assist became an official statistic
in the 1985-86 season. He currently averages 24.6 points and 10.0
assists as the Racers enter the NCAA Tournament this week. The nation's
eighth-leading scorer at 763 points, had 311 assists in the
regular season and had scored 20 or more points 22 times,
games with 30 or more points. Morant has 16 games with 10 or more
assists and had 18 double-doubles this season. Morant and Murray
State, the 12-seed in the West Region, take on Marquette on Thursday
in Hartford, Conn.
White, a 6-5 guard from Goldsboro, N.C., makes the Wayman Tisdale
Award finalists list as a member of the ACC All-Freshman team who
earned second-team All-ACC honors as a five-time ACC Freshman of
the Week. He is averaging 16.4 points per game, tied with Phil Ford
for the fourth-most ever by a UNC freshman. He leads the team in
assists (129) and free throw percentage (.823) on a team that is
second nationally in assists and third in scoring. White's UNC freshman-record
of 76 three-pointers have boosted his 509 points, which are the
eighth-most all-time by a UNC freshman. North Carolina, the ACC
regular-season co-champion, earned the top seed in the Midwest Region
and faces Iona on Friday in Columbus, Ohio.
Davis, a 6-1 guard from Birmingham, Ala., set an NCAA record
this season for most three-pointers (132) by a freshman, breaking
Davidson's Stephen Curry's record of 122 in 2006-07. He finished
his season leading the Horizon League in scoring at 26.1 points
per game and was ninth in the league in assists at 3.6 per game.
Davis, who started the season with eight straight 20-point games,
posted 23 20-point games as well as nine 30-point games. The sharpshooter
twice tied the school record with 10 treys in a game, and became
the Titans' first USBWA All-District honoree since 2001.
The Henry Iba Award finalists include three of the last four
winners in Tony Bennett of Virginia (2018, '15,
also won at Washington State in '07) and Mark Few
(2017, Gonzaga), plus another former winner, Houston's Kelvin
Sampson ('95 at Oklahoma), as well as Rick Barnes
(Tennessee), Matt Painter (Purdue), Chris
Beard (Texas Tech) and Mike Young (Wofford).
Barnes, in his fourth season at Tennessee, has the Volunteers
in the NCAA Tournament for a second time and earned the 21st 20-win
season of his career. Tennessee is 29-5, seeded second in the South
Region, and faces Colgate on Friday in Columbus, Ohio. Barnes guided
the Vols to a second-place finish in the SEC and they spent
four weeks atop the Associated Press poll this season.
Beard was the Big 12 Coach of the Year after leading his Red
Raiders to a 26-6 overall record and the program's first Big 12
Conference regular-season championship. He is 71-30 as Texas Tech's
head coach heading into Friday's NCAA Tournament first-round matchup
against Northern Kentucky. The Red Raiders are 50-5 in home games
under Beard, whose intense defensive brand has the Red Raiders ranked
second nationally in scoring defense (58.6 ppg).
Bennett led his Virginia team to the top of the AP rankings for
multiple weeks this season, as well as its fourth ACC regular-season
championship in the last six years. The three-time Henry Iba Award
winner's team leads the nation in scoring defense (55.1 ppg), three-point
field goal percentage defense (27.3) and fewest turnovers (289),
and is in the top four nationally in six other categories.
Few extended his own West Coast Conference record, capturing
his third straight and 13th overall WCC Coach of the Year honor
after leading Gonzaga to a 30-3 record, a seventh straight WCC regular-season
title and the top seed in the NCAA Tournament's West Region. This
is Gonzaga's 12th straight season with at least 25 wins and the
Bulldogs have also reached 30 wins for the fifth time in program
history, with all five coming in the last seven years. The Zags
sat atop the AP poll twice this season. Gonzaga opens the NCAA Tournament
Thursday in Salt Lake City.
Painter led Purdue to the school's 24th Big Ten championship,
tied with Michigan State with 16-4 league records, and earned his
fourth Big Ten Coach of the Year honor. Purdue ranks in the top
50 nationally in seven team categories and has outrebounded 24 of
31 foes this year. The Boilermakers' 45 Big Ten wins over the last
three seasons are the third-most for any program in league history.
Purdue, the No. 3 seed in the South Region, opens the NCAA Tournament
against Old Dominion Thursday in Hartford, Conn.
Sampson has led Houston to a 31-3 record and the program's first
outright regular-season conference title since 1984 as the Cougars
ascended to top-10 rankings in both national polls. Houston raced
to a 15-0 start with the school's third-longest win streak and followed
it with a 12-game streak after that first loss. The Cougars owned
the nation's longest home win streak at 33 games until three weeks
ago, losing only once at home this season. The American Athletic
Conference's Coach of the Year has now won six COY honors from four
conferences. Houston, the No. 3 seed in the Midwest Region, opens
its NCAA Tournament against Georgia State Friday in Tulsa.
Wofford coach Mike Young led the Terriers to a program-record
29 wins, and the Southern Conference champions (29-4) enter the
NCAA Tournament with a 20-game win streak. The USBWA District III
Coach of the Year has Wofford in the national rankings for the first
time in its history and in the NCAA Tournament for the first time
since 2015. Young is the active leader for wins at a SoCon school.
Wofford is the No. 7 seed in the Midwest Region and faces Seton
Hall Thursday in Jacksonville.
Oscar Robertson Trophy is is
the nation's oldest award and the only one named after a former
player. The legendary Oscar Robertson was the USBWA's first player
of the year in 1959 and was the consensus national player of the
year as a sophomore in 1958, the year before USBWA started giving
its player of the year award. The USBWA renamed the award the Oscar
Robertson Trophy in 1998.
The USBWA has chosen a national freshman of the year award
since the 1988-89 season. It was named the Wayman
Tisdale Award in honor of the late three-time USBWA
All-American at Oklahoma, the first freshman to receive
first-team All-America honors from the USBWA.
Henry Iba Award is named in honor of the
legendary coaching great at Oklahoma A&M (now Oklahoma State)
who won two NCAA championships and two gold medals and one
silver as coach of the U S. Olympic teams.
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
Oscar Robertson Trophy Finalists
National Player of the Year
RJ Barrett, Duke
Zion Williamson, Duke
Wayman Tisdale Award Finalists
National Freshman Player of the Year
Antoine Davis, Detroit Mercy
Zion Williamson, Duke
National Coach of the Year
Chris Beard, Texas Tech
Mark Few, Gonzaga
Matt Painter, Purdue
Mike Young, Wofford
Oscar Robertson Trophy
Wayman Tisdale Award
Henry Iba Award