Power Ranking the 2012 Freshman Player of the Year Award Finalists
The United States Basketball Writers of America named the five finalists for the 2012 Wayman Tisdale Award.
The Tisdale Award is given on an annual basis to the top freshman player in the nation.
The announcement of the award winner will be during the Final Four in New Orleans, with the presentation two weeks later in Oklahoma City.
The most recent winners of the award are:
2006: Tyler Hansbrough, North Carolina
2007: Kevin Durant, Texas
2008: Michael Beasley, Kansas State
2009: Tyreke Evans, Memphis
2010: John Wall, Kentucky
2011: Jared Sullinger, Ohio State
Here is a power ranking of the five 2012 finalists:
5. Tony Wroten, Washington Huskies
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Tony Wroten is a dynamic combo guard who has made an immediate impact on the Washington Huskies.
His outstanding play is one of the reasons why the Huskies currently are in first place in the Pac-12.
Wroten penetrates relentlessly and has no trouble getting to the rim just about any time he wants to take the ball there.
On the year, Wroten leads the team in scoring (16.4 PPG) and steals (1.9 SPG). He is also averaging 4.7 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game.
4. Austin Rivers, Duke Blue Devils
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Austin Rivers launched himself into Duke Basketball history by burying a buzzer beater to beat North Carolina last week.
But, make no mistake about it: Rivers is more than just a one-moment hero.
He is leading the Blue Devils in scoring (15.0 PPG) and three-point shooting (41 percent).
Rivers is also averaging 3.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game.
While the Blue Devils have a balanced attack, the SG from Winter Park, Florida is the key to Duke's continued success throughout the rest of the regular season, the ACC Tournament and the 2012 NCAA Tournament.
3. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kentucky Wildcats
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Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is one of the best shooting forwards in college basketball.
Kidd-Gilchrist makes an impact on games even when he's not the leader on the stat sheet. His aggressive and intense play on both ends of the court puts pressure on the Wildcats' opponents, while his athleticism helps him to be an elite-level defender.
Kidd-Gilchrist averages 12.3 points per game and is one of the best wing rebounders in the country with 7.7 rebounds per game.
2. Cody Zeller, Indiana Hoosiers
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If this award was given solely to acknowledge which individual freshman player has made the biggest contribution to their team, Cody Zeller would win, hands down.
Zeller is a huge reason why Indiana basketball is relevant again.
While Tom Crean has assembled a talented cast, Zeller is the catalyst for the re-emergence of the program.
The 6'11" post player from Washington, Indiana, leads the Hoosiers in scoring (15.4 PPG), rebounding (6.4 RPG), blocked shots (1.4 BPG) and field goal shooting percentage (64.6 percent, good for No. 10 in the nation).
1. Anthony Davis, Kentucky Wildcats
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As good as the other four finalists are, if the voting was held today, Anthony Davis would win the Tisdale Award hands down.
Davis is a unique blend of talent, athleticism and length. Because of a later growth spurt, he developed perimeter skills before reaching his current height of 6'10".
This year, the Chicago native has been a star performer on a team of future NBA lottery picks.
Davis is the nation's leading shot blocker (4.9 BPG) and is the No. 8 shooter in terms of field goal percentage (65.1 percent).
He averages just below a double-double (14 points and 9.9 rebounds per game) and leads the Wildcats in steals with 1.5 per game.
While Kentucky has a number of ways to beat you, Davis has become the best and most lethal of John Calipari's weapons on this year's Wildcats team.