Shabazz Muhammad was named Monday as one of eight finalists for the Wayman Tisdale Freshman of the Year Award. Considering that the UCLA star is leading all Division I freshmen in scoring (18.3), the news doesn’t come as a huge surprise.
The 6-foot-6 swingman didn’t have his most efficient performance in Saturday’s 74-69 win over Arizona, scoring 18 on 6-of-15 shooting, but did grab a game-sealing defensive rebound.
His right eye still looked a little swollen Monday afternoon after contracting pink eye two weeks ago. He went to an eye appointment after meeting with the media.
Jahii Carson is the only other Pac-12 player to make the list. If either he or Muhammad takes the trophy, the conference would have its first winner since Arizona’s Jason Gardner in 2000.
The other finalists: Anthony Bennett (UNLV), Gary Harris (Michigan State), Ben McLemore (Kansas), Nerlens Noel (Kentucky), Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State), Rasheed Sulaimon (Duke).
Bennett, McLemore and Smart are also among the 14 finalists for the Oscar Robertson Award, which the USBWA gives each year to the best player in the country.