Fanta named USBWA's 2024 Rising Star

INDIANAPOLIS (USBWA) – The U.S. Basketball Writers Association is pleased to honor John Fanta of FOX Sports as the Rising Star Award winner in men’s basketball. He will be recognized at the association's annual awards luncheon in Glendale, Ariz., site of the Men's Final Four.

The USBWA has annually recognized outstanding members of its organization who are under the age of 30 since the 2009-10 season with this honor.

A Cleveland native and 2017 graduate of Seton Hall University, the 28-year-old Fanta has quickly become known for his versatility and enthusiasm among his peers in the college basketball media landscape.

For the last two years, Fanta has expanded his writing duties into a reporting role for His work includes feature stories, Q&As, columns and video contributions as the lead voice of the sport for the network’s digital content.

Also named one of The Athletic’s "40 Under 40: Rising stars in men’s college basketball,” his body of work includes being one of the voices of college basketball on FOX. His play-by-play has also been featured on CBS Sports Network and NBA TV. As one of the voices of the Big East Conference, he hosts Shootaround, a weekly digital series dedicated to bringing the latest storylines from around the league’s hoops scene.

In addition, his robust social media presence has provided a fresh energy to the sport’s fanbase.

"John Fanta shows an incredible and diverse 21st-century skill set to go with and huge passion for college basketball," said USBWA President Brendan Quinn of The Athletic. "It's a honor to have him among our membership and to present him with a richly-deserved award."

He joins a list of other outstanding young journalists as a winner of this award that includes Dan Wolken, Myron Medcalf, Nicole Auerbach, Mirin Fader and Alexa Philippou.

Fanta and his wife Victoria were married in September and reside in New Jersey, as Fanta hops around the Northeast college basketball scene.

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 Malcolm Moran at 814-574-1485.

2010: Dan Wolken, Memphis Commercial-Appeal
2011: Kevin Armstrong, New York Daily News
2012: Steve Yanda, Washington Post
2013: Myron Medcalf,
2014: Eamonn Brennan,
2015: Michael Cohen, Memphis Commercial-Appeal
2016: Laura Keeley, Raleigh News & Observer
2017: David Gardner, Sports Illustrated
2018: Nicole Auerbach, The Athletic
2019: Sam Vecenie, The Athletic
2020: Chris Heady, Omaha World-Herald
2021: Mirin Fader, The Ringer
2022: Bennett Durando, Montgomery Advertiser; Alexa Philippou, Hartford Courant
2023: Cora Hall, Knoxville News-Sentinel; Joel Lorenzi, Omaha World Herald