UC's Sean Kilpatrick, Mick Cronin finalists for top college basketball honors

ST. LOUIS – University of Cincinnati men’s basketball standout Sean Kilpatrick is up for national player of the year honors and Mick Cronin is up for top coach honors. 

On Thursday, the U.S. Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) announced the finalists for the 2014 men's basketball player and coach of the year awards.

THE USBWA selected Kilpatrick and 14 other student-athletes for its annual Oscar Robertson National Player of the Year Trophy.

Through Wednesday, Kilpatrick leads the American Athletic Conference in scoring at 20.5 points per game and in 3-pointers made (2.8 per contest). He is fifth in free-throw shooting at 85.1 percent.

A Naismith Trophy Midseason Top 30 selection, Kilpatrick is averaging 25.3 points with 29 three-pointers over UC's last eight games. He has led UC in scoring in each of the last 14 games and been the game's top scorer in each of the last seven contests. He has scored 20 or more points in 16 games this season for the Bearcats.

On Feb. 22, Kilpatrick scored 28 points against Louisville to join former UC legend Oscar Robertson as the only players in program history to eclipse 2,000 career points.

Besides being among the best scorers in the country, Kilpatrick is also averaging 4.5 assists, 2.5 assists and 1.4 steals per contest.

He has also helped guide UC to a 24-4 mark this season and has them poised to earn a top seed in the upcoming NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

Joining UC’s senior on the list are senior Russ Smith of Louisville and Kentucky freshman Julius Randle.

Randle is also one of the six finalists for the Integris Wayman Tisdale Award, which is awarded to the top freshman player.

The USBWA also announced the the finalists for the Henry Iba National Coach of the Year Award. Cronin, Larry Brown (SMU), Billy Donovan (Florida), and seven other coaches make up the list.

The Bearcats have won at least 20 games for four consecutive seasons but this season is one of Cronin’s most prolific at the helm of his alma mater.

Cronin, who is second in school history with 159 wins at Cincinnati, has guided Cincinnati to a No. 11 national ranking and first place in the American heading into Saturday's game at UConn. The Bearcats have been ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 each of the last seven weeks.

Experts picked UC to finish fourth in the conference and the team had only one vote in the preseason Associated Press poll.

A win over UConn on Saturday would give Cincinnati as many as 14 league wins in a season for the only the fourth time in school history.

And The Award Goes To...

Members of the association's board of directors chose the finalists. The entire 975-member USBWA will vote on the awards as well as the annual All-America and All-District teams.

The ballots will be distributed Sunday evening and USBWA members may still write in candidates for the three individual honors.

The Oscar Robertson Trophy recipient will be announced on Friday, April 4, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The press conference is in conjunction with the NCAA Men's Final Four.

On Monday, March 17, officials will announced the Integris Wayman Tisdale Award winner. On the following Monday, the winner of the Henry Iba National Coach of the Year Award will be revealed.

All three winners will be formally presented their awards at the Devon Energy College Basketball Awards on Monday, April 14, at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City.

Following are the finalsts for the Oscar Robertson National Player of the Year Trophy:

2014 OSCAR ROBERTSON TROPHY FINALISTS

Pos.

No.

Player, School

Ht.

Wt.

Yr.

Hometown

G/F

5

Kyle Anderson, UCLA

6-9

230

So.

Fairview, N.J.

F

41

Cameron Bairstow, New Mexico

6-9

250

Sr.

Brisbane, Australia  

F

11

Cleanthony Early, Wichita State

6-8

219

Sr.

Middletown, N.Y.

F

3

Melvin Ejim, Iowa State

6-6

220

Sr.

Toronto, Ont.

G

11

Tyler Ennis, Syracuse

6-2

180

Fr.

Brampton, Ont.

F

5

C.J. Fair, Syracuse

6-8

215

Sr.

Baltimore, Md.

G

13

Nick Johnson, Arizona

6-3

200

Jr.

Gilbert, Ariz.

G

23

Sean Kilpatrick, Cincinnati

6-4

210

Sr.

Yonkers, N.Y.

F

3

Doug McDermott, Creighton

6-8

225

Sr.

Ames, Iowa

G

13

Shabazz Napier, Connecticut

6-1

180

Sr.

Roxbury, Mass.

F

1

Jabari Parker, Duke

6-8

235

Fr.

Chicago, Ill.

F

24

Casey Prather, Florida

6-6

212

Sr.

Jackson, Tenn.

F

30

Julius Randle, Kentucky

6-9

250

Fr.

Dallas, Texas

G

2

Russ Smith, Louisville

6-0

165

Sr.

Brooklyn, N.Y.

G

22

Andrew Wiggins, Kansas

6-8

200

Fr.

Vaughan, Ont.

 

Following are the finalists for the Integris Wayman Tisdale Freshman of the Year Award:

2014 INTEGRIS WAYMAN TISDALE AWARD FINALISTS

Pos.

No.

Player, School

Ht.

Wt.

Yr.

Hometown

C

21

Joel Embiid, Kansas

7-0

250

Fr.

Yaounde, Cameroon

G

11

Tyler Ennis, Syracuse

6-2

180

Fr.

Brampton, Ont.

F

11

Aaron Gordon, Arizona

6-9

225

Fr.

San Jose, Calif.

F

1

Jabari Parker, Duke

6-8

235

Fr.

Chicago, Ill.

F

30

Julius Randle, Kentucky

6-9

250

Fr.

Dallas, Texas

G

22

Andrew Wiggins, Kansas

6-8

200

Fr.

Vaughan, Ont.

 
The ten coaches placed on the ballot for the Henry Iba Award are: John Beilein, Michigan; Tony Bennett, Virginia; Larry Brown, SMU; Jim Crews, Saint Louis; Mick Cronin, Cincinnati; Billy Donovan, Florida; Steve Fisher, San Diego State; Gregg Marshall, Wichita State; Greg McDermott, Creighton; and Jay Wright, Villanova.

About The Awards

Since the 1958-59 season, the USBWA has named a National Player of the Year. In 1998, the award was named in honor of the University of Cincinnati Hall of Famer and two-time USBWA Player of the Year Oscar Robertson. It is the nation's oldest award and the only one named in honor of a former player. Michigan's Trey Burke won the award a year ago.

The Henry Iba Award honors legendary Oklahoma State coach who won 655 games and two national championships in 36 seasons in Stillwater. The USBWA has presented a National Coach of the Year Award each year since the 1958-59 season. Miami's Jim Larrañaga was honored with the award last season.

The USBWA has chosen a national freshman of the year since the 1988-89 season when LSU's Chris Jackson was the recipient. Last season, Oklahoma State's Marcus Smart became the third winner of the Wayman Tisdale Award.

Formed in 1956, the U.S. Basketball Writers Association has 975 members worldwide and is one of the most influential organizations in college basketball. It has selected an All-America team since the 1956-57 season.

For more information on the USBWA and its award programs, contact executive director Joe Mitch at 314-795-6821.

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