Jahlil Okafor honored as USBWA First-Team All-America, Wayman Tisdale Award recipient

With the NCAA tournament looming, Jahlil Okafor is picking up steam—and honors—at the right time.

Okafor was named a First Team All-American by the United States Basketball Writers Association Monday and followed that up with the Wayman Tisdale Award Tuesday, which is presented by the USBWA to the nation's top freshman. He joins Jabari Parker as the second straight Duke freshman to earn first-team honors— Okafor is head coach Mike Krzyzewski's 29th player to make the list—and the Tisdale Award.

Okafor will be presented with the Tisdale trophy April 14 at the Devon Energy College Basketball Awards in Oklahoma City. Along with the presentation of Okafor's honor, the Robertson Trophy will also be presented to the USBWA’s national player of the year—which he is also in the running for—during the banquet.

The award makes Duke the second school—North Carolina being the first in 2005 and 2006 with Tyler Hansbrough and Marvin Williams—ever to have back-to-back players earn the award.

Along with the Blue Devil big man, Kentucky's Willie Cauley-Stein, Notre Dame's Jerian Grant, Wisconsin's Frank Kaminsky and Ohio State's D’Angelo Russell round out the USWBA's first-team selections.

The Chicago native is averaging 17.7 points per game on 66.9 percent shooting from the field and enters the tournament following a stellar 28-point, eight-rebound effort in Duke's loss to the Fighting Irish in the ACC semifinals. The performance broke a four-game slump in which Okafor was averaging just 10.7 points.

It is behind the rookie center's strong play that the Blue Devils enter the tournament as a No. 1 seed in the South Region. They will face the winner of North Florida and Robert Morris in Charlotte Friday at 7:10 p.m. in the second round of the tournament following the First Four.

USBWA All-America Team
First Team
Willie Cauley-Stein, Kentucky
Jerian Grant, Notre Dame
Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin
Jahlil Okafor, Duke
D’Angelo Russell, Ohio State

Second Team
Malcolm Brogdon, Virginia
Bobby Portis, Arkansas
Seth Tuttle, Northern Iowa
Kyle Wiltjer, Gonzaga
Delon Wright, Utah

This post was updated at March 17 at 1:29 p.m. to include the USBWA's Wayman Tisdale Award announcement.

Comments powered by Disqus

Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Chronicle.