Friday, 17 March 2017 12:47

Lonzo Ball Wins Tisdale Award

News Release from the USBWA:  http://bit.ly/2mxm8ks

UCLA’S LONZO BALL CAPTURES USBWA’S WAYMAN TISDALE AWARD

Bruins’ guard honored as the nation’s top freshman player

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – UCLA’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 California’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 Tournament’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 Conference’s Freshman of the Year and the USBWA’s District IX Player of the Year.

“What we enjoy most about Lonzo is how consistent he’s been with our team,” UCLA head coach Steve Alford said. “Nothing fazes this young man. He’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.”

“He can beat you with his passing, his shooting, his defense, his ability to create for himself, and how he’s able to create for others. Above being an outstanding basketball player, I’m most appreciative of the strong character that Lonzo demonstrates every day. We’re fortunate to have him on our team. He’s a major part of what we’re doing, and I know that he’s looking forward to this NCAA Tournament.”

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 USBWA’s national freshman of the year award have included Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Jason Kidd and Chris Webber. LSU’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). UCLA’s game will be nationally televised on truTV.

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