Jahii Carson among eight finalists for Freshman of the Year Award

Jahii Carson had to sit out a year before he was able to step on the court as a Sun Devil.

Boy was that a tough year, but judging by Carson’s first-year resume, it was well worth the wait.

Carson has had an incredible freshman year for Arizona State, and despite the team’s late season struggles, Carson has remained a constant for the Sun Devils.

In fact, this is how much of a constant Carson has been for Arizona State. He’s one of eight finalists for the Integris Wayman Tisdale Freshman of the Year Award.

Carson is joined by Anthony Bennett (UNLV), Garry Harris (Michigan State), Ben McLemore (Kansas), Shabazz Muhammad (UCLA), Nerlens Noel (Kentucky), Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State) and Rasheed Sulaimon (Duke).

“It’s an honor,” Carson said. “I’d like to thank my teammates because they put me in a position to go out and score the basketball, and they capitalize when I dish them off the basketball.”

“It’s a blessing to come down to Arizona State for my first year and be considered one of the best freshman in the pack,” Carson said.

Carson has been nothing but a model of consistency for the Sun Devils this season. He’s leading the team in scoring (17.8 ppg), assists (5.0 per game) and total free throws made (124).

“I’m so proud of Jahii, he’s come a long way,” forward Carrick Felix said. “Being able to sit out a whole year and having an impact like he has this year is tremendous.”

Felix says he’s loved seeing Carson’s growth as the season’s went on, and he’s honored to be a part of something special with his best friend.

Head coach Herb Sendek is in the same “feelings boat” as Felix when it comes to Carson. He, like Felix, couldn’t be happier to see this honor bestowed on his floor general.

“He’s handled every situation with a lot of grace, a lot of poise [and] tremendous maturity,” Sendek said. “We’ve just asked him to do everything, and he’s done it spectacularly well for a first year guy.”

Sendek says, over time, his belief in Carson has never wavered. In fact, he says it’s gotten stronger as he’s seen Carson deliver time and time again for the Sun Devils.

“He’s played some great basketball for us, but in particular, down some home stretches in games, he’s really helped propel us to some key wins,” Sendek said.

The U.S. Basketball Writers Association – which is comprised of 900 members – will have the ultimate say on who actually wins the award.

The winner will be announced on Friday, April 5 in Atlanta, Ga.,

The winner will formally receive the award at the Devon Energy College Basketball Awards on Mon., April 15 at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Okla.