March 17, 2021
For Immediate Release
Contact: Malcolm Moran
814-574-1485
Four first-year stars in contention for Freshman of the Year
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FINALISTS NAMED FOR WAYMAN TISDALE AWARD

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
Pos. First Team Ht. Wt. Yr. Hometown
G Cade Cunningham, Oklahoma State 6-8 220 Fr. Arlington, Texas
C Hunter Dickinson, Michigan 7-1 255 Fr. Alexandria, Va.
F Evan Mobley, USC 7-0 215 Fr. Murrieta, Calif.
G Jalen Suggs, Gonzaga 6-4 205 Fr. 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 at 814-574-1485.

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Wayman Tisdale Award