The U.S. Basketball Writers Association has given out the the award for national freshman of the year dating back to the 1988-1989 season. In 2010, the USBWA officially changed the name of the award to honor Wayman Tisdale, the late three-time All-American at the University of Oklahoma and 12-season NBA veteran.
Tisdale’s career of athletic accolades and achievements, including a spot on the 1984 U.S. Olympic basketball team, ended in 1997 when he chose a new life path: music. Tisdale’s legacy as a jazz musician actually began while he was still in the NBA. In 1995, his first album was released on the Motown Label, which was titled Power Forward. Over the span of the next 12 years, Tisdale released seven more albums. His 2001 release Face to Face climbed to No. 1 on Billboard’s contemporary jazz chart.
However, in 2007, Tisdale was diagnosed with cancer (osteosarcoma), which resulted in an uphill battle that ultimately proved to be too tough to overcome. In 2008, Tisdale had to have part of his right leg amputated due to the spreading bone cancer. Tisdale passed away in May 2009, one month after setting off on a 21-date concert tour.
Tisdale’s courage, bravery and legacy live on through the INTEGRIS Wayman Tisdale Freshman of the Year Award. The award is produced by Access Sports, an Oklahoma City-based non-profit organization committed to supporting youth sports. Access Sports has made it their mission to empower the youth of Oklahoma by finding a way for all kids to overcome challenges through organized sports activities and character building programs.
Donations can be made year-round to Access Sports. Through Wayman Tisdale’s “Lightning Pledge,” you can sponsor a child or team for one year of basketball.
The College Basketball Awards Ceremony is held every year in Oklahoma City at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. This event is sponsored by Devon Energy. Devon is one of the nation’s leading independent oil and natural gas producers and is an engaged corporate citizen in communities where it operates.
Below is the list of all of the national freshman of the year award winners, beginning with the most recent recipient: LSU's Ben Simmons. During the 2015-2016 season, Simmons averaged 19.2 points, 11.8 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 2.0 steals per game. His 23 double-doubles were tied for the third-most in college basketball history.
- 2016: Ben Simmons, LSU
- 2015: Jahlil Okafor, Duke
- 2014: Jabari Parker, Duke
- 2013: Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State
- 2012: Anthony Davis, Kentucky
- 2011: Jared Sullinger, Ohio State
- 2010: John Wall, Kentucky
- 2009: Tyreke Evans, Memphis
- 2008: Michael Beasley, Kansas State
- 2007: Kevin Durant, Texas
- 2006: Tyler Hansbrough, North Carolina
- 2005: Marvin Williams, North Carolina
- 2004: Luol Deng, Duke
- 2003: Carmelo Anthony, Syracuse
- 2002: T.J. Ford, Texas
- 2001: Eddie Griffin, Seton Hall
- 2000: Jason Gardner, Arizona
- 1999: Quentin Richardson, DePaul
- 1998: Larry Hughes, Saint Louis
- 1997: None Selected
- 1996: None Selected
- 1995: None Selected
- 1994: Joe Smith, Maryland
- 1993: Jason Kidd, California
- 1992: Chris Webber, Michigan
- 1991: Rodney Rogers, Wake Forest
- 1990: Kenny Anderson, Georgia Tech
- 1989: Chris Jackson, LSU