The college basketball season has come to a close, with Virginia winning their first national championship. But the offseason will be ripe with storylines, from awards to coaching decisions to players deciding to head to the pros. Here are the latest college basketball news and notes.
Zion wins Wooden Award
Duke freshman Zion Williamson became just the third freshman to win the John R. Wooden Award as the nation’s men’s player of the year. He joined Kevin Durant and Anthony Davis as the only freshmen to take home the award, which was handed out at the fifth annual College Basketball Awards in Los Angeles.
Williamson, 18, averaged 22.6 points and 8.9 rebounds per game last season for the Blue Devils. He also averaged 26.0 points per game in the NCAA tournament, the most by any freshman to play at least three games. He becomes the sixth Wooden Award winner in Duke history, the most of any school.
This isn’t the first award given to Williamson, but rather the last of several. Earlier this month he won AP Player of the Year and the Naismith Award, as well as the Karl Malone Award as the nation’s best power forward Friday during the award show. Williamson is expected to declare for the NBA Draft, where he is currently considered the consensus number one overall pick.
Auburn, Pearl agree to extension
Fresh off of an appearance in the Final Four, Auburn is rewarding coach Bruce Pearl with a new five-year contract that will run through the 2023-24 season. The deal will earn Pearl about $3.8 million per year.
Pearl, who finished up his fifth year at Auburn, has gone 100-72 with the Tigers and reached back-to-back NCAA tournaments. Last season, they finished tied for first in the SEC, before this year appearing in the Final Four for the first time in school history. It was also Pearl’s first time in the Final Four, following several tournament years as Tennessee’s head coach.
Pearl began his career in Division I basketball at Milwaukee in 2001. He spent four years with the Panthers before taking over at Tennessee in 2005, where he spent six seasons. However, an NCAA investigation into a recruiting violation by Pearl led to him spending the next three years out of college basketball. He came back to the sidelines as the head coach of Auburn in 2014.
USC’s Porter declares for draft
USC freshman guard Kevin Porter Jr. has decided he wants to take his career to the next level, hiring an agent and declaring for the NBA draft.
The 40th-ranked recruit in the 2019 class, Porter was originally not thought of as a one-and-one prospect. But that quickly changed, with an impressive start of the season and strong games against Vanderbilt and Texas Tech. However, a thigh injury in late November kept him out for two months.
Porter averaged 9.5 points and 4.0 rebounds per game in his first and final year at USC, while also shooting 41 percent from three-point range. He also played the entire season as an 18-year old, making him one of the youngest prospects on the draft board this June.
More players will declare for the draft, and more schools will prepare for their departures. Some interesting weeks are ahead as the offseason is in full swing.