FAYETTEVILLE — Freshman BJ Young of the University of Arkansas men’s basketball team announced he would return for his sophomore season at the team’s postseason banquet Monday evening inside the Raymond Miller Room.
Young won the team’s Offensive Player of the Year Award, and was also presented with his trophies for achieving All-SEC Second Team and SEC All-Freshman Team honors. He led Arkansas with 15.3 points per game and shot over 50 percent from the field and 41 percent from the three-point line. Young led all SEC freshmen in scoring, and finished the year fourth in the league in field goal percentage. The freshman, who was weighing the opportunity to enter the NBA Draft, announced after receiving the awards that he will return to the Razorbacks next season.
"I had (the decision) this morning," Young said. "I talked to my parents, told them what I wanted to do, and they supported me, so I feel good about it. It was a pretty difficult decision, it wasn’t the easiest I ever made, but I enjoy school a lot and I am not ready to go yet."
Along with his SEC awards, Young also earned honorable mention All-SEC honors by the Associated Press, third-team All-SEC accolades by College Sports Madness, and USBWA All-District VII honors.
"He and I had a chance to visit earlier today," said Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson. "I didn’t think it could be any more appropriate than to (announce his decision) tonight at our appreciation banquet. I wanted to make sure he had all the facts, and I know he put a lot of thought into it along with his family."
The Razorback Defensive Award was handed out to freshman Hunter Mickelson, who had one of the best defensive seasons for a freshman in program history. Mickelson’s 72 blocks this season gave him the school record for blocked shots by a Razorback freshman, surpassing Oliver Miller’s mark of 60 set in the 1988-89 season. Mickelson’s 72 rejections ranked second in the SEC and he started his career with 20 straight games with a blocked shot.
The Most Improved Player Award went to senior Marvell Waithe. Waithe improved nearly all of his statistical categories from the 2010-11 season, averaging 15.6 minutes and shooting 45.3 percent for the year, and racking up the second-most blocks on the team with 26.
The Iron Razorback award, presented to the player who showed a high level of work ethic and determination in the weight room and training room, was given to senior Michael Sanchez. Sanchez was a physical force for Arkansas in the paint, and he battled injuries throughout the season but continued to make a difference on the court.
Arkansas continued its tradition of community service during the 2011-12 season, and honored sophomore Kikko Haydar for excelling in that area with the Razorback Service Award. Haydar, who achieved a 4.0 grade point average to earn the status of Arkansas Academic Champion for the second straight year, was one of two winners of the Academic Award. Sophomore Rickey Scott, who made the Athletic Director’s list (3.50-3.99), was the other winner.
Sophomore Mardracus Wade took home the Razorback Free Throw Award after leading Arkansas with an 81.5 percent mark at the line. Wade also led the SEC from behind the three-point line by shooting 47.6 percent.
Freshman Devonta Abron was the winner of the Chairman of the Boards Award, which went to the Razorbacks’ top rebounder of the year. Abron had a team-high 61 offensive rebounds and 74 on the defensive end, to pace Arkansas with 4.2 boards per game.
Scott was also honored with the Playmaker Award for his solid play in the backcourt. The sophomore was second on the team with 79 assists while scoring 9.1 points per game, facilitating the offense as a combo guard.
For more information regarding Razorback basketball or University of Arkansas athletics, please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.