Stanley Johnson wins inaugural Julius Erving Award

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Kyle Hansen | The Daily Wildcat

Arizona men's basketball forward Stanley Johnson (5) smiles during Arizona's 73-51 win against California during the first round of the Pac-12 tournament at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Thursday. By defeating Cal, Johnson and the Wildcats advanced to the Pac-12 tournament semifinals.

Arizona men’s basketball forward Stanley Johnson won the inaugural Julius Erving Small Forward of the Year Award on Friday night.

The freshman was presented the award on ESPN’s new College Basketball Awards Show at Club Nokia in Los Angeles. The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame selection committee picked Johnson over the likes of Justin Anderson (Virginia), Sam Dekker (Wisconsin), LaDontae Henton (Providence) and Justise Winslow (Duke).

“It’s difficult to express how humbled I am to not only be named Small Forward of the Year, but to also win an award named after one of the all-time greats in the game of basketball,” Johnson said in a press release. “I want to thank the Hall of Fame selection committee, the fans who voted for me, and my family, coaches and teammates at Arizona for their support.”

Johnson led the team in scoring (13.8 points per game) and was second in rebounds (6.5) and steals (1.5) per game.

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The Fullerton, Calif. native was one of two freshmen in the major college basketball conferences to average at least 13.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per contest. The other was Jahlil Okafor of Duke.

Johnson took a selfie with Erving.

“I also want to congratulate all the other award winners from tonight on their great seasons,” Johnson said. “I’m thrilled to be the Julius Erving Award winner and it’s something that will always be a source of pride for me.”

Johnson was the 28th player in UA history and the fourth under Arizona coach Sean Miller to be named All-American, third team, by the NABC. He was on the five-man USBWA Freshman All-American team.

In school history, Johnson’s freshman year ranks third in points scored (523) and steals (57), fourth in free throws made (132), fifth in total rebounds (247) and free throw attempts (178), sixth in three-pointers made (43) and seventh in field goals made (174).

The Pac-12 Freshman of the Year led Pac-12 rookies in scoring, steals, free throws made and free throw attempts and was sixth overall in the conference in steals, 13th in rebounding average and 14th in scoring average. He was the only freshman on the All-Pac-12 team.

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