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Vol. 56, No. 4 • May 2019 • .pdf version
Williamson, Barnes claim USBWA's top honors
Duke forward Zion Williamson swept USBWA honors by winning the Oscar Robertson Trophy as the national player of the year and the Wayman Tisdale Award as the nation's top freshman.
Tennessee's Rick Barnes was named the winner of the Henry Iba Award as the nation's top coach.
Williamson, a 6-foot-7 forward from Spartanburg, S.C., was the nation's only player to average at least 20 points and shoot at least 65 percent from the field. He was selected to the first team of the USBWA's All-America team along with the award's three other finalists – teammate R.J. Barrett of Duke, Ja Morant of Murray State and Grant Williams of Tennessee – and Cassius Winston of Michigan State.
The trophy's namesake, "The Big O," was on hand at U.S. Bank Stadium, site of the Final Four, to announce Williamson as the winner. A formal presentation of the three awards took place April 15 at the Missouri Athletic Club in St. Louis.
Iowa's Megan Gustafson received the Ann Meyers Drysdale Award as the women's national player of the year. Kim Mulkey of Baylor was named the women's coach of the year.
Williamson was the eighth Blue Devil to win the trophy (and the first since J.J. Redick shared the trophy with Gonzaga's Adam Morrison in 2006) and the third freshman (along with Kentucky's Anthony Davis and Texas' Kevin Durant) to claim the honor.
The USBWA first-team All-American electrified fans with his rim-rattling dunks and dramatic blocks on defense. He was the ACC player of the year and the first freshman to be named the ACC tournament's Most Valuable Player. While tying for the ACC lead in scoring (22.6 points per game), Williamson was also second in steals (2.1), third in rebounding (8.9 rpg) and fifth in blocks (1.8 bpg). Williamson led Duke to a 21st ACC championship and a 22nd Elite Eight appearance. He averaged 26.4 points and 9.1 rebounds in seven postseason games.
Williamson won the Wayman Tisdale Award over fellow finalists Barrett, Coby White of North Carolina and Antoine Davis of Detroit Mercy.
Barnes led the Volunteers to arguably the greatest season in school history, which included a school-record 19-game win streak. His guidance helped keep Tennessee ranked among the top 10 in both national polls throughout the season, including a No. 1 ranking for four weeks during win streak.
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