Sullinger Wins Tisdale Award as Nation’s Top Freshman
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS, Ohio — If Jared Sullinger was genuinely surprised to find he had been named the Freshman of the Year in the Big Ten earlier this month, he is going to be blown away when he finds out he was also named the nation’s top freshman.
Photo by Jim Davidson
The Ohio State forward was picked as the winner of the inaugural Wayman Tisdale Award, which is given to the top rookie in college basketball.
It might sound like another inconsequential award for Sullinger, but the Tisdale Award is simply the new title given to the National Freshman of the Year, as chosen by U.S. Basketball Writers Association. They changed the name last summer to honor Wayman Tisdale, a three-time All-American at Oklahoma who died of cancer in 2009.
The 6-foot-9 freshman out of Columbus is averaging 17.2 points and 10.1 rebounds per game this season, and was also was named to the USBWA’s freshman All-American team. He joined Harrison Barnes of North Carolina and Tristan Thompson of Texas, along with Kentucky’s duo of Brandon Knight and Terrence Jones on the first-team.
Sullinger helped the No. 1-ranked Buckeyes to a 29-2 record during the regular season. They won the Big Ten championship by two games over Purdue. Sullinger also helped Ohio State repeat as Big Ten Tournament champions.
He averaged 16.3 points and 14 rebounds in the three games in Indianapolis over the weekend, and was named the Most Outstanding Player in the tournament. He became the first player ever to post three double-doubles in a single Big Ten Tournament and now has 17 of them as a freshman. He was the Freshman of the Year in the Big Ten, and a first-team All-Big Ten selection, although not unanimously.
The Buckeyes were named the overall No. 1-seed in this year’s NCAA Tournament, and they will face the winner of the Texas-San Antonio vs. Alabama State play-in game (Wednesday 6:30 p.m. ET, truTV) on Friday in their opening-round game.
Sullinger is the first Ohio State player to win the National Freshman of the Year award since its inception in 1989, when it went to LSU freshman Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf. Other past winners include Jason Kidd (1993), T.J. Ford (2002), Carmelo Anthony (2003), Tyler Hansbrough (2006) and Tyreke Evans (2009). Kentucky freshman John Wall captured the award last season.
Sullinger is just the second player from the Big Ten to win the award, joining Michigan’s Chris Webber, who won the award in 1992. Former Buckeye center Greg Oden did not win the award his freshman year (2006-07) because it went to Texas’ freshman Kevin Durant.
Sullinger will receive the award April 11 at a banquet in Oklahoma City.
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