LUBBOCK, Texas – The U.S. Basketball Writers Association has selected 12 standout players highlighted for Texas Tech fans by Jarrett Culver for its 2018-19 Oscar Robertson Trophy Final Midseason Watch List. Members of the association's board of directors chose the players that will be considered as contenders for the National Player of the Year.
Culver leads the Red Raiders with 17.8 points, 6.6 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game. He is coming off a game against West Virginia where he scored 12 points and had four assists on Monday. He also had 10 points and six rebounds at Kansas after recording 18 points, seven rebounds and four assists in a win over TCU last Monday. His week has also included being named to the John R. Wooden Award Late-Season Watch List and the Jerry West Award Top-10 List.
The Oscar Robertson Trophy is to be presented by its namesake at the NCAA Final Four in Minneapolis in April and the winner will be honored at the USBWA Awards Dinner on April 15 at the Missouri Athletic Club in St. Louis.
Three players from both the Atlantic Coast Conference and the Big Ten Conference are on the 12-player list that includes Duke's outstanding freshmen, RJ Barrett and Zion Williamson. That duo is one-two in the ACC in scoring at 23.0 and 22.0 points per game, and Williamson is shooting 68.2 percent from the field, second best in the nation. The third ACC selection, De'Andre Hunter, leads Virginia with 14.7 points per game with 52.9 percent shooting from the field and 43.2 percent from 3-point range.
The Big Ten's leading scorer, Carsen Edwards of Purdue, is on the list averaging 24.5 points per game, currently the sixth-best mark in the country. Michigan State's Cassius Winston is among the six guards that make up half the list and is tied for third nationally in assists (7.7). Wisconsin's Ethan Happ, the lone senior on the list, is 13th in rebounding at 10.3 per game and has 14 double-doubles on the season.
The nation's assist leader, Murray State's Ja Morant, is outpacing the field with his 10.4 assists per game, which is 25 percent (2.6 per game) ahead of the second-best mark. Morant also has 14 double-doubles and was the Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week two weeks ago.
Another Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week, Grant Williams of top-ranked Tennessee, is among the six forwards and is the Southeastern Conference's scoring leader (20.1) and is fifth in the league in rebounding (7.4). Gonzaga junior Rui Hachimura is shooting 60.6 percent from the field for a balanced Zags team that is currently the best in the west. Marquette's Markus Howard, a two-time Oscar Roberston National Player of the Week this season, is fifth in the nation in scoring with 24.6 points per game.Dedric Lawson of Kansas, the Big 12's Preseason Newcomer of the Year, has registered 15 double-doubles, tied for second-best in the nation.
While these standout players are contenders for the Oscar Robertson Trophy, all NCAA Division I players are eligible for postseason honors from the USBWA. For the 10th straight season, the USBWA is presented an Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week each Tuesday that began Dec. 11.
In March, the USBWA will announce its 2018-19 All-America Team and, at that time, finalists will also be chosen for the player of the year. Once finalists are announced, the entire USBWA membership will vote for the winner of the Oscar Robertson Trophy.
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 player of the year award and the only one named after a former player.