Ionescu Named Finalist for James E. Sullivan Award


EUGENE, Ore. – Oregon women’s basketball senior superstar Sabrina Ionescu has been selected as a finalist for the prestigious James E. Sullivan Award, the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) announced on Monday morning.

In its 90th year, the Sullivan Award is presented annually to the nation’s most outstanding amateur athlete. Previous winners include Peyton Manning (1997), Michelle Kwan (2001), Michael Phelps (2003), J.J. Reddick (2005), Tim Tebow (2007) and Ezekiel Elliott (2014).

No Oregon athlete has ever won the James E. Sullivan Award. Ionescu is just the second Duck to be named a finalist, joining former volleyball standout Liz Brenner (2012).

Voting for the award is open to the public at Finalist voting opened on Monday and will close on March 30, at 11:59 p.m.

Earlier on Monday, Ionescu was announced as the unanimous Associated Press women’s national player of the year, a few days after being named an AP first-team all-American for the third straight year. Ionescu also won her third straight Pac-12 player of the year award and completed a four-year sweep of all-Pac-12 honors, and she is a finalist for the Naismith Trophy and a frontrunner for the rest of the national player of the year awards like the Wooden Award and the Wade Trophy, both of which she won last year as a junior.

The first player in NCAA history to reach 2,000 career points (2,562), 1,000 assists (1,091) and 1,000 rebounds (1,040), Ionescu closed her incredible career with another tremendous season as a senior. The NCAA all-time leader with 26 career triple-doubles, Ionescu matched her own single-season record with eight in 2019-20 while averaging 17.5 points, a career-high 8.6 rebounds and an NCAA-leading 9.1 assists per game. Ionescu was as efficient as she was dynamic, shooting a career-high 51.8 percent from the floor while ranking fourth in the nation with a 3.05 assist-to-turnover ratio.

Ionescu was breaking records all season long, becoming the Oregon all-time leader in points, three-pointers (329) and double-figure scoring games (134) while breaking the Pac-12 men’s and women’s all-time record for assists. Ionescu closes her career at No. 4 on the NCAA women’s basketball all-time assists list, and she is only the second player in history with 2,000 points and 1,000 assists (Courtney Vandersloot).

Despite an abrupt end to the season after the NCAA Tournament was cancelled due to COVID-19, Ionescu ended the year on a high note. The senior was named the most outstanding player of the Pac-12 Tournament for the second time in her career after dominating with 23.3 points, 9.3 rebounds and 9.0 assists per game while leading the Ducks to the title. Oregon swept the Pac-12 regular-season and tournament titles for the second time in the last three years behind Ionescu’s stellar play and leadership.

2020 James E. Sullivan Award Finalists

Evita Griskenas, Rhythmic Gymnastics, USA Rhythmic Gymnastics

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Grant Holloway, Track and Field, University of Florida

Markus Howard, Men’s Basketball, Marquette University

Sabrina Ionescu, Women’s Basketball, University of Oregon

Trevor Lawrence, Football, Clemson University

Spencer Lee, Men’s Wrestling, University of Iowa

Dana Rettke, Women’s Volleyball, University of Wisconsin

Kyla Ross, Gymnastics, University of California Los Angeles

Megan Taylor, Women’s Lacrosse, University of Maryland

Abbey Weitzeil, Women’s Swimming, University of California Berkeley