When Wayman Tisdale passed away in May 2009, many eulogists remembered his long NBA career and his side gig as an accomplished jazz musician. But Tisdale was also a legendary college basketball player -- the first freshman in the game's history to become an All-American -- and, by all accounts, an even better person.
Which is why it's fitting that the United States Basketball Writers Association has decided to name its freshman of the year award after Tisdale. Few deserve the honor more.
It's possible to argue that Tisdale was the best freshman in college basketball history, at least in the modern era. Tisdale averaged 24.5 points and 10.3 rebounds per game (while shooting 58 percent from the field and basically dominating every aspect of the game) as a frosh in 1982-93. He was Blake Griffin before Blake Griffin, and he didn't need a year to feel out the college game. In some ways, Tisdale's dominance was a portent of what would come next for the college hoops era, when at least a handful of talented freshmen rule the game for a year before heading to the NBA as one-and-done players.
Anyway, Wayman Tisdale: Great player, great guy, fitting award. Wins all around.