On Monday, the United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) announced their eight finalists for the Wayman Tisdale Award.
Among those listed is Kentucky forward Nerlens Noel.
The accolade crowns the top freshman in the country each year, according to the USBWA. Kentucky has been in the mix for the award year in and year out since head coach John Calipari took over the program. In fact, former Wildcat star Anthony Davis took home the achievement just a season ago.
While Noel, who suffered a torn ACL just last month, is not likely to win the award considering he cannot help his case anymore so this season, it is still an accomplishment for him to be mentioned among the eight finalists. Especially considering, he has earned this nomination despite having less than a full season of statistics under his belt.
Noel had started all 24 games for the Wildcats this season prior to tearing his ACL on Feb. 12. The injury to Noel has sent a ripple effect throughout Lexington, as the Wildcats now find themselves battling for their NCAA Tournament life as the regular season nears a close.
With Noel on the sidelines, Kentucky is certainly at a disadvantage and this recent nomination as part of the Wayman Tisdale Award only adds proof to that.
Prior to his season-ending fall, Noel had been averaging 10.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, 4.4 blocks and 2.1 steals per game. On numerous occasions, Noel had stuffed the stat sheet across the board, showing again and again that he is not your average forward.
Noel set the school’s single-game blocks record earlier in the year, recording 12 swats in a win against Ole Miss.
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