INDIANAPOLIS (USBWA) – Two conference players
of the year, one of the nation's top point guards and one of its
best true centers are among the four finalists for the 2020-21
Wayman Tisdale Award. Oklahoma State guard
Cade Cunningham, Michigan center Hunter
Dickinson, USC forward Evan Mobley and
Gonzaga point guard Jalen Suggs are the contenders
for the National Freshman Player of the Year, based on voting by
the U.S. Basketball Writers Association.
The winner of the award will be announced next Tues., March 23. Each of
the four finalists were selected to the USBWA's 2020-21 All-America
team, also released today.
Cunningham, the only freshman on the All-America first team,
is just the fourth player in Big 12 history to sweep the Big 12's
Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year awards. He's the second-highest-scoring
freshman at 20.2 points per game and a nine-time Big 12 Player of
the Week. The other three finalists are second-teamers. Suggs is
the point guard on the country's only undefeated team and the NCAA
Tournament's overall No. 1 seed at Gonzaga (26-0). The West Coast
Conferences' Newcomer of the Year is a defensive threat and assist
leader who also shoots 50.5 percent from the field. Dickinson, Michigan's
scoring leader, is the Big Ten's Freshman of the Year and the first
Wolverines freshman to be an all-league first-teamer in 43 seasons.
Mobley is the first player to win the Pac-12 Player of the Year,
Freshman of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year all in the
same season and the only Division I player to average at least 16.0
points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.0 blocks and 2.0 assists.
Cunningham has keyed Oklahoma State's (20-8) surge into the NCAA Tournament,
where it faces Liberty in the first round Friday. According to Stats
Perform, only two other power conference players over the last 20
seasons can match his all-around stat line of 20.2 points, 6.3 rebounds,
3.6 assists, 1.4 steals and 0.8 blocks per game – but neither Ohio
State's Evan Turner (2009-10) nor Marquette's Dwyane Wade (2002-03)
can additionally match Cunningham's 3-point clip of 41.2 percent.
Suggs leads the WCC in steals per game (2.0) and is fourth in
assists (4.48 pg) and field goal percentage (50.5 percent) and is
11th in scoring (14.0). He was the WCC Freshman of the Week 10 times
this season and has 16 double-doubles. He's dished out at least
five assists in 12 games and has three or more steals in seven games.
Suggs is the first freshman among Gonzaga's 11 all-time All-Americans.
The Bulldogs play either Norfolk State or Appalachian State in the
first round Saturday.
A seven-time Big Ten Freshman of the
Week honoree, Dickinson leads Big Ten regular-season champion Michigan
in scoring (14.4), rebounding (7.8), double-doubles (5) and 10-plus
rebounding games (5). Dickinson is Michigan's first All-American
since 2013 (Trey Burke) and the first freshman among the 16 in program
history. The Wolverines, the No. 1 seed in the East region, face
Mount St. Mary's or Texas Southern in the first round Saturday.
Mobley is one of the country's top all-around players with averages
of 16.4 points, 8.6 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 2.9 blocks per game.
His 82 blocks are the USC freshman record and his next free throw
attempt (167 thus far) will set another record. Mobley is USC's
first All-American since 2002 (Sam Clancy Jr.), and its fifth overall
but its first underclassman. USC faces either Wichita State or Drake
in the first round Saturday.
Of the four schools represented by the finalists, Oklahoma State
and Michigan have had a previous winner. Chris Webber of Michigan
won the award in the 1991-92 season while Oklahoma State's Marcus
Smart was honored in the 2012-13 season.
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 and the first
freshman to receive first-team All-America honors from the USBWA.
2020-21 WAYMAN TISDALE AWARD FINALISTS
||West St. Paul, Minn.
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
Wayman Tisdale Award