Jan. 15, 2019
For Immediate Release
Contact: Joe Mitch
Guard posts a remarkable 35-point, 20-rebound game
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ST. LOUIS (USBWA) East Carolina guard Jayden Gardner is the Wayman Tisdale National Freshman of the Week for games ending the week of Jan. 13. Gardner was selected by CBSSports.com's Matt Norlander, in partnership with the U.S. Basketball Writers Association.

National Freshman of the WeekNorlander's popular weekly freshman watch column will continue to feature nation's the top freshmen each week in addition to the national player of the week. Later in the season, the USBWA will release a midseason watch list before naming finalists for the award. This season marks the first time a weekly national freshman of the week will be selected and, each Tuesday through Feb. 26, a standout first-year player will be chosen for the honor.

Gardner, a 6-6 forward from Wake Forest, N.C., averaged 26.5 points, 14.0 rebounds and 54.3-percent shooting in ECU's (8-8) competitive losses at Memphis and UCF.

"Against UCF, Gardner was unreal: he had 35 points and 20 rebounds, putting up a stat line that even Zion Williamson probably won't duplicate this season," Norlander writes of Gardner. "It's the first time in American Athletic Conference history that any player has had a 30/20 double-double.

"Beyond that, any player scoring 35 points and grab 20 rebounds is a rarity," he continued. "There's only been seven instances of the that happening in college basketball in the past eight seasons, none of which came from freshmen."

The 35 points and 20 rebounds were AAC records for a freshman, and the conference awarded Gardner its Freshman of the Week honor for a third time this season (he shared it this week). He was only the 11th player in AAC history to score at least 35 points in a game and the third to grab 20 boards. He scored 18 points and had eight rebounds in the week's earlier game at Memphis.

Gardner currently leads the AAC in scoring at 19.4 points per game and is second in rebounding at 9.5 rebounds per game. He leads the conference in free throws made (111) and attempted (147) and is shooting 75.5 percent at the charity stripe, while hitting on 55.6 percent of his field goal attempts.

The late Wayman Tisdale was a three-time USBWA All-American at the University of Oklahoma. Following a stint on the 1984 U.S. Olympic basketball team, he played 12 seasons in the NBA before retiring in 1997 to focus on a blossoming jazz music career. In March 2007, he was diagnosed with cancer and, following a courageous and difficult battle that included the amputation of his right leg in 2008, he passed away in May 2009.

The U.S. Basketball Writers Association was formed in 1956 at the urging of then-NCAA Executive Director Walter Byers. With more than 900 members worldwide, it 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.

2018-19 Wayman Tisdale National Freshmen of the Week
Week ending Dec. 2: Zion Williamson, Duke (Atlantic Coast Conference)
Week ending Dec. 9: RJ Barrett, Duke (Atlantic Coast Conference)
Week ending Dec. 16: Wynston Tabbs, Boston College (Atlantic Coast Conference)
Week ending Dec. 23: Mac McClung, Georgetown (Big East Conference)
Week ending Dec. 30: Tyler Herro, Kentucky (Southeastern Conference)
Week ending Jan. 6: Antoine Davis, Detroit (Horizon League)
Week ending Jan. 13: Jaylen Gardner, East Carolina (American Athletic Conference)
Week ending Jan. 20: Zion Williamson, Duke (Atlantic Coast Conference)
Week ending Jan. 27: Zion Williamson, Duke (Atlantic Coast Conference)
Week ending Feb. 3: Lamine Diane, Cal State Northridge (Big West Conference)
Week ending Feb. 10: Devon Dotson, Kansas (Big 12 Conference)1
Week ending Feb. 17: Jalen Pickett, Siena (Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference)
Week ending Feb. 24: RJ Barrett, Duke (Atlantic Coast Conference)