by Patrick B. McGuigan
Scott Hill, executive director of Access Sports, an Oklahoma City-based not-for-profit foundation, announced Monday night that the group will join the United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) in 2013 to make the Sooner State new home of all the major awards presented annually by the two groups.
The announcement came Monday night at the annual Tisdale Awards dinner, when the NCAA freshman of the year (Anthony Davis of Kentucky) and Humanitarian of the Year (Coach Mike Krzyzewski of Duke) were honored.
Beginning in 2013, the Oscar Robertson Player of the Year Trophy and Henry Iba Coach of the Year Award (major college basketball awards presented annually by USBWA) will join the Wayman Tisdale Freshman of the Year Award presented by Devon – as well as the Humanitarian Award – in a combined major college basketball gala based in Oklahoma City. Organizers told The City Sentinel the combined awards program each year will be held on the Monday following the NCAA Men’s Final Four.
In a statement provided to news organizations, including The City Sentinel, at the close of Monday’s Tisdale Awards dinner, Hill said, “We have had a very good relationship with USBWA and this new arrangement will expand on that relationship and allow Oklahoma City to literally become the center of men’s college basketball for one night each year. Having the best freshman, best overall player, and best coach in a room all at one time will represent a very meaningful night for college basketball in general and for Oklahoma and our city in particular.”
A press release from Access Sports and USBWA noted, “Funds raised through the gala are used to support a number of charitable activities, including youth basketball programs in Oklahoma that allow disadvantaged youth the opportunity to participate in leagues and training. The gala will also help support the educational activities of the USBWA, including its journalism scholarship program.”
John Akers, president of USBWA, said, “We are pleased to expand our partnership with Access Sports. By combining all the awards, we really bring the national focus — as it relates to college basketball – to this one event.”
Devon Energy was the major sponsor of Monday’s Tisdale Awards event.
Integris Health sponsors an annual golf classic that supports Access Sports programs. Chesapeake Energy has consistently supported the Tisdale Awards, and this year has partnered with Access Sports and Fox Sports Southwest to distill the April 16 program into a 30-minute television special originating from Oklahoma City.
Other supporters of the awards include the Knights of Columbus Building Corporation of Oklahoma City, and Knights Council No. 1038.
About Access Sports: Access Sports leaders describe the group as “a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization 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, educational scholarships through the United States Basketball Writers Associations, and funding of youth basketball programs throughout the state of Oklahoma through the Wayman’s Lightning Basketball League. More information is available at www.access-sports.net.”
About The United States Basketball Writers Association: Formed in 1956, the U. S. Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) is, according to its leadership, “comprised of nearly 1,000 sports journalists who cover college basketball for newspapers, magazines and websites. More information can be found at www. usbwa.com.”