ATLANTA (March 31, 2018) – The Atlanta Tipoff Club today announced that University of South Carolina senior A’ja Wilson has won the 2018 Citizen Naismith Women’s Player of the Year award. With the honor, Wilson becomes the eighth woman to claim both the prep and collegiate Naismith Trophy. She edged out finalists Asia Durr (University of Louisville), Katie Lou Samuelson (University of Connecticut) and Gabby Williams (University of Connecticut).
Other winners of both awards include Breanna Stewart (2012 High School; 2014, 2015, 2016 College), Maya Moore (2006, 2007 High School; 2009, 2011 College), Candace Parker (2003, 2004 High School; 2008 College), Diana Taurasi (2000 High School; 2003, 2004 College), Tamika Catchings (1997 High School; 2000 College), Chamique Holdsclaw (1995 High School; 1998, 1999 College) and Lisa Leslie (1990 High School; 1994 College).
The 2014 Naismith High School Trophy winner became the Gamecocks’ all-time leading scorer and captured an unprecedented third SEC Player of the Year award from the league’s coaches. Wilson also earned SEC co-Defensive Player of the Year honor as well. She scored in double figures in 28 of her 29 games this season, highlighted by 18 total 20-point outings.
The SEC’s leading scorer, Wilson was eighth in the nation with 22.6 ppg, which includes 21.3 ppg in 13 games against ranked opponents this season. She follows in the footsteps of her coach, Dawn Staley, who won the Citizen Naismith Trophy for University of Virginia, in both 1991 and 1992.
“This year exemplifies what a complete all-around player A’ja Wilson is, and clearly the most deserving winner of this award despite remarkable competition,” said Eric Oberman, executive director of the Atlanta Tipoff Club. “To see our high school Naismith Trophy winners go on to achieve even greater success at the next level is incredibly rewarding for our organization and we salute her.”
“We’re honored to have A’ja Wilson as the 2018 Citizen Naismith Trophy recipient,” said Eric Horowitz, managing director U.S. and travel retail, Citizen Watch Company of America, Inc. “A’ja demonstrates consistent dedication and drive towards her career in women’s basketball. We are pleased to grant her with this precious award amongst the many great college players throughout history.”
“Getting the Naismith Trophy is such a blessing. I can’t put into words how happy and honored I am to receive it at the end of my college career like I did my high school career,” said A’ja Wilson, winner of the 2018 Citizen Naismith Trophy for Women’s Player of the Year. “I’m thankful for my coaches and teammates who have been so important to me and my development on and off the court.”
Wilson was chosen by the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s national voting academy, comprised of leading journalists from around the country, current and former head coaches, former award winners and conference commissioners, all of whom based their selections on outstanding on-court performances during the 2017-18 college basketball season. Fans also contributed to the final tally with the fan component comprising 5 percent of the final vote. The vote was tabulated and certified by Aprio, formerly Habif, Arogeti & Wynne, the largest full-service, independent CPA-led business advisory firm, based in Atlanta.
For more information, visit www.naismithtrophy.com.
ABOUT THE ATLANTA TIPOFF CLUB
Celebrating 50 Years of the Citizen Naismith Trophy
Founded during the 1956-57 season, the Atlanta Tipoff Club is committed to promoting the game of basketball and recognizing the outstanding accomplishments of those who make the game so exciting. The Atlanta Tipoff Club administers the Naismith Awards, which have become the most prestigious national honors in all of college basketball. Named in honor of Dr. James Naismith, inventor of the game of basketball, the Naismith Trophy recognizes the top Men’s and Women’s College Basketball Players of the Year. Other Naismith Awards are presented to the Men’s and Women’s College Basketball Coaches of the Year, Boys’ and Girls’ High School Basketball Players and Coaches of the Year, Basketball Officials and Outstanding Contributors to the game. Celebrating its 50th year by honoring past winners, the Citizen Naismith Trophy was first presented to UCLA’s Lew Alcindor (later known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) in 1969. Old Dominion’s Anne Donovan won the inaugural Women’s Citizen Naismith Trophy in 1983.
Citizen, a pioneer in watchmaking and innovative technology since 1918, promotes excellence and creativity with a deep-rooted respect for craftsmanship. Citizen advocates “Better Starts Now,” searching for and accomplishing goals that are cause driven. In this respect, Citizen aligns with organizations and personalities that reflect the values of the brand including the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative, Naismith Awards, National Merit Scholarship, and Good360.
For over 40 years, Citizen’s Eco-Drive technology has served as the prime example of how the brand is dedicated to making the world and its environment a better place. A simple yet revolutionary concept, Eco-Drive harnesses the power of light from any natural or artificial light source and converts it into energy, eliminating the need for any battery replacement.