Muhammad named finalist for national freshman of the year

UCLA forward Shabazz Muhammad was named one of eight finalists for the Wayman Tisdale Award on Monday, an honor given annually to the national freshman of the year by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association.

Muhammad, a 6-foot-6 forward, is averaging 18.3 points per game -- the highest mark among freshmen in the country. His play has helped No. 23 UCLA (22-7, 12-4) into a tie for first place in the Pac-12 entering the final week of play. The Bruins are back in the Associated Press top 25 for the first time since Jan. 20.

Muhammad is second in the Pac-12 in scoring and No. 36 in the nation. He is also second in the Pac-12 in 3-point percentage (44.6), barely trailing Stanford's John Gage (44.8).

The other finalists for the award are: Anthony Bennett (UNLV), Jahii Carson (Arizona State), Gary Harris (Michigan State), Ben McLemore (Kansas), Nerlens Noel (Kentucky), Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State) and Rasheed Sulaimon (Duke). The winner will be announced April 5 in Atlanta just before Final Four weekend and will be presented April 15 at the Devon Energy College Basketball Awards in Oklahoma City.