OKLAHOMA CITY -- Duke freshman Jahlil Okafor has been named the 2015 Integris Wayman Tisdale Award winner, as announced by the United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) Tuesday. Okafor becomes the second Blue Devil in as many years to receive the honor, which is awarded to the national freshman of the year, after Jabari Parker earned the same recognition last season. Duke is just the second school in the history of the Wayman Tisdale Award to have back-to-back winners, with the feat first occurring in 2005 and 2006, when North Carolina’s Marvin Williams and Tyler Hansbrough won the award in consecutive years.
Okafor will be presented with the trophy at the Devon Energy College Basketball Awards on Tuesday, April 14, at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City.
Okafor has helped guide the Blue Devils to a 29-4 record this season and a No. 1 seed in the South Region of the upcoming NCAA Tournament. Duke opens NCAA Tournament play Friday, March 20, facing the winner of the game between North Florida and Robert Morris.
In addition to Okafor receiving the Wayman Tisdale Trophy at the banquet, the Oscar Robertson Trophy will also be presented to the USBWA’s national player of the year, and the Henry Iba Coach of the Year Award will also be awarded during the banquet.
Okafor has garnered a long list of honors during his freshman campaign. In addition to being named the ACC Player of the Year, marking the first time in conference history a freshman received the honor, Okafor was also tabbed the ACC Freshman of the Year, the USBWA District III Player of the Year, a USBWA All-District III Team member, a First Team All-ACC member and a USBWA First Team All-American. Okafor currently leads the conference in offensive rebounding (3.91 orpg.) and field goal percentage (.669) and sits second in points per game (17.7 ppg.). Okafor’s 66.9 percent field goal percentage also ranks second in the nation.
The Chicago, Ill., native set an ACC freshman record for consecutive double-digit scoring games earlier this season after scoring 10 or more points in his first 28 games as a Blue Devil. Okafor’s 31 total double-digit scoring games sits tied with Gene Banks and 2004 Wayman Tisdale Award winner Luol Deng for second on Duke’s freshman list. Parker holds the freshman record, with 33 such games. Okafor was recognized as the Wayman Tisdale National Freshman of the Week Dec. 14 after he scored 25 points and collected 20 rebounds in a 75-62 victory over Elon, marking just the third time an ACC freshman recorded a 20-20 game.
The USBWA has chosen a national freshman of the year since the 1988-89 season when LSU’s Chris Jackson was the recipient. The late Wayman Tisdale was a three-time USBWA All-American at the University of Oklahoma and in 1983 was the first freshman ever to be named a first-team All-American by the USBWA. Following a stint on the 1984 U.S. Olympic basketball team, he played 12 seasons in the NBA. 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.
Tickets and sponsorship information for the Devon Energy College Basketball Awards are available at collegebasketballawards.com or by contacting Scott Hill (405-640-0406, firstname.lastname@example.org).