The U.S. Basketball Writers Association last week announced selection of Ohio State forward Jared Sullinger as the winner of the 2011 Wayman Tisdale Award. Sullinger will be honored at a gala banquet on Mon., April 11 at the Skirvin Hotel downtown.
The 2011 event is presented by Devon Energy Corporation and produced by Access Sports, Inc., of Oklahoma City.
At the same event, legendary sports journalist and coach Dick Vitale will receive the Tisdale humanitarian award. When his selection was announced recently, Vitale said, “To have your name associated with someone I have the ultimate respect for, what you dream of in a student-athlete, a great person beyond the basketball court, is a great honor. Wayman was an incredible person who always had that big smile on his face.”
Sullinger will also be recognized at the basketball writers breakfast on Friday, April 1 in Houston in conjunction with the NCAA Men’s Final Four.
Sullinger, a first-team USBWA All-American and the Big Ten Conference Freshman of the Year, led Ohio State to a 32-2 record, the Big Ten regular-season and conference tournament championships, and the No. 1 overall seed in this year’s NCAA Tournament.
Sullinger is just the second player from the Big Ten to win the USBWA’s National Freshman of the Year Award, joining Michigan’s Chris Webber in 1992.
The USBWA has chosen a national freshman of the year since the 1988-89 season when LSU’s Chris Jackson was the recipient. Other previous winners of the award include Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Jason Kidd and Webber. This season marks the first year the award has been named in Wayman Tisdale’s honor.
The Tisdale Award winner will receive a statuette designed by nationally-recognized sculptor Shan Gray. The April 11 banquet, hosted by ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla, will also honor Dick Vitale as the recipient of the Wayman Tisdale Humanitarian Award. A permanent Wayman Tisdale Award will be on display at the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame.
The late Wayman Tisdale was a three-time USBWA All-American at the University of Oklahoma. Following a stint on the 1984 U.S. Olympic basketball team, he played 12 seasons in the NBA before retiring in 1997 to focus on a blossoming jazz music career. In March 2007, he was diagnosed with cancer and, following a courageous and difficult battle that included the amputation of his right leg in 2008, he passed away in May 2009.
The Wayman Tisdale Freshman of the Year Award presented by Devon is produced by Access Sports, an Oklahoma City-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization committed to supporting various charitable causes, including funding prosthetic devices for needy individuals through the Wayman L. Tisdale Foundation.
It also funds educational scholarships through the U.S. Basketball Writers Association, and funding of youth basketball programs around Oklahoma through Wayman’s Lightning Basketball League.
Tickets and sponsorship information for the April 11 event are available at the Tisdale Award website, access-sports.net, or by contacting Scott Hill (405-749-1515, [email protected]). For more information on the USBWA Awards Breakfast in Houston, including purchasing tickets, visit usbwa.com.
The 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 named All-American teams since the 1956-57 season.