By Shawn Krest
Vernon Carey Jr. was named the winner of the Wayman Tisdale Award, presented by the USBWA and presented to the top freshman in college basketball.
Carey Jr., a 6-10 freshman from Southwest Ranches, Fla. in greater Miami, was the only player ranked in the Atlantic Coast Conference’s top 10 in scoring (third, 17.8 ppg), rebounding (fourth, 8.8), field goal percentage (first, .577) and blocked shots (sixth, 1.6). The ACC Freshman of the Year was the only freshman on the 15-man USBWA All-America team and posted 15 double-doubles on the season, second among NCAA freshmen and second in the ACC. Ten of his double-doubles were 20-10 performances and he was in the top four among freshmen nationally in scoring, field goal percentage and rebounds.
Carey is the second consecutive Duke freshman to win the Tisdale Awards. Zion Williamson won it last season. It’s the second time Duke has had back-to-back winners (Jabari Parker in 2014, Jahlil Okafor in 2015). Only one other school has ever accomplished that feat (UNC with Marvin Williams in 2005, Tyler Hansbrough in 2006). The Blue Devils now have five all-time Tisdale Award winners – no other school has more than two – and Duke players have now won four of the last seven awards. Luol Deng in 2004 was Duke’s first winner of the award.