News Release from the USBWA: http://bit.ly/2mxm8ks
UCLAâ€™S LONZO BALL CAPTURES USBWAâ€™S WAYMAN TISDALE AWARD
Bruinsâ€™ guard honored as the nationâ€™s top freshman player
SACRAMENTO, Calif. â€“ UCLAâ€™s Lonzo Ball has selected by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association to receive the Wayman Tisdale Award as the National Freshman Player of the Year, as announced Thursday by the USBWA.
Ball, a 6-foot-6 guard from Chino Hills, Calif., leads the nation in assists per game (7.7) and total assists (254), having averaged 14.6 points and 6.1 rebounds per game. Ball has already established the Pac-12 freshman assists record (254) and is just two assists shy of tying the UCLA single-season record of 256 set by Larry Drew II in 2012-13.
Ball is on pace to become the first Pac-12 player to average at least 14 points, seven assists and six rebounds in one season since Californiaâ€™s Jason Kidd in 1993-94.
One of six Bruins currently averaging in double-figure scoring, Ball has helped lead the Bruins to a 29-4 record and the No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournamentâ€™s South Regional.
Ball has already been named a first-team All-America selection by the USBWA, becoming the first UCLA freshman to secure first-team recognition since Kevin Love accomplished that feat in 2007-08. In addition, Ball was also selected the Pac-12 Conferenceâ€™s Freshman of the Year and the USBWAâ€™s District IX Player of the Year.
â€śWhat we enjoy most about Lonzo is how consistent heâ€™s been with our team,â€ť UCLA head coach Steve Alford said. â€śNothing fazes this young man. Heâ€™s the same guy each and every day and has done a great job at keeping his focus on our next game. He has helped prepare this team the best that he can, and he does so many things to make everybody else better.â€ť
â€śHe can beat you with his passing, his shooting, his defense, his ability to create for himself, and how heâ€™s able to create for others. Above being an outstanding basketball player, Iâ€™m most appreciative of the strong character that Lonzo demonstrates every day. Weâ€™re fortunate to have him on our team. Heâ€™s a major part of what weâ€™re doing, and I know that heâ€™s looking forward to this NCAA Tournament.â€ť
The USBWA has chosen a national freshman of the year award since the 1988-89 season, an award that was named in honor of the late Wayman Tisdale in 2011. Tisdale was a three-time USBWA All-America selection at Oklahoma and the first freshman ever to receive first-team All-America honors from the USBWA.
Notable winners of the USBWAâ€™s national freshman of the year award have included Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Jason Kidd and Chris Webber. LSUâ€™s Ben Simmons won the award last season.
UCLA (29-4) takes on Kent State (22-13) in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday, March 17. Game time at the Golden 1 Center (Sacramento, Calif.) is slated for 7 p.m. (PT). UCLAâ€™s game will be nationally televised on truTV.