ST. LOUIS (USBWA) The U.S. Basketball Writers Association will present the 2013 Integris Wayman Tisdale Award to Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart. The award · a statuette designed by nationally-recognized sculptor Shan Gray · will be presented to Smart at the Devon Energy College Basketball Awards on Mon., April 15 at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City.
As the national freshman of the year, Smart has led the Cowboys to a 23-7 record and a No. 14 ranking in the Associated Press Top 25 entering this weekend's Big 12 Conference Tournament in Kansas City.
The April 15 gala will also honor Michigan State coach Tom Izzo as the recipient of the Wayman Tisdale Humanitarian Award. In addition, the Oscar Robertson Trophy presented by Aflac – given to the USBWA's national player of the year – and the Henry Iba Coach of the Year Award will be presented at the banquet to be held annually the Monday following the NCAA Men's Final Four.
Smart, a 6-4, 225-pound true freshman from Flower Mound, Texas, has joined a pair of previous USBWA National Freshman of the Year Award winners Texas' Kevin Durant (2007) and Kansas State's Michael Beasley (2008) · in an exclusive group of three players to be chosen as the Big 12 Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year in the same season. Smart was also named to the USBWA's All-District VI Team to go with selections to the All-Big 12 First Team, the Big 12 All-Defensive Team and the Big 12 All-Rookie Team.
Smart is ranked in the top 10 in the Big 12 in several categories, including scoring (15.1, 6th), assists (4.3, 6th), steals (3.0, 1st) and free-throw percentage (73.8, 5th). His 89 steals tied the conference's single-season freshman record. He also already holds the Oklahoma State school record for most assists by a freshman and his 78.3 free-throw percentage is the highest ever by a Cowboy freshman with at least 75 made free throws. Heading into the Big 12 Tournament, Smart has 24 double-figure scoring games and nine 20-point games in 30 games played, all of which he has started.
"Our team has had a great season and Marcus has been a big part of that," said Oklahoma State head coach Travis Ford. "Marcus is one of the most competitive players I've ever been around. He comes ready to play every single day.
"What makes Marcus great is he's a complete player. He's a great offensive player as well as a great defensive player. He's very unselfish and a unbelievable leader. I think he's very deserving of this award, because of how hard he works and the attitude he plays with every day.
"This is an exciting award for Marcus, because of the great player and great person that Wayman Tisdale was."
In addition to selecting Smart as the national freshman of the year, the USBWA chose four other first-year standouts for its 2013 Freshman All-America Team. Following is the complete team, all of whom were finalists for the Wayman Tisdale Award:
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, Kentucky's Anthony Davis became the second winner of the Wayman Tisdale Award. Other notable winners of the national freshman of the year award include Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Jason Kidd and Chris Webber.
The late Wayman Tisdale was a three-time USBWA All-American at the University of Oklahoma and in 1983 was the first freshman ever to be named a first-team All-American by the USBWA. 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 (405-749-1515, 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. For more information on the USBWA and its award programs, contact executive director Joe Mitch at 314-795-6821.
• Integris Wayman Tisdale Award