April 7, 2020 – Villanova sophomore Saddiq Bey was named the winner of the 2020 Julius Erving Award given to the nation’s top small forward by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. He is the third Wildcat player to earn the honor since its inception in the 2014-15 season.
“This is an honor,” said Bey. “To see the past players who have won this award and to know it’s named after one of the all-time greats, Julius Erving, is humbling. It’s a blessing.”
Bey joins fellow Villanova standouts Josh Hart and Mikal Bridges to be given the Erving Award.
Bey was a unanimous first-team All-Big East selection. He averaged 16.1 points per game. He made 79 of 175 three-point shots for a .451 percentage, fourth best in college basketball. He attributes his success to the team.
“I want to thank my teammates and my coaches for everything they do for me since I’ve been there,” said Bey. “I just follow them. I am happy to be a part of this culture.”
“We’re really proud of Saddiq and are happy for him,” said Villanova Coach Jay Wright. “It’s fitting that he wins the Julius Erving Award. He is multi dimensional as a player. He can guard a couple of positions, he is creative offensively, he’s got great length. Off the court he is a quiet, classy, well respected leader on this team. He is well respected and an undervalued defender, and I think Julius was too. I let Saddiq know when he was first honored with being a possible winner, how similar he was to Julius Erving. Maybe not as flashy and pretty, but very similar as a player and a person mostly in terms of how respected he was by his teammates. It’s a great fit and we are really proud of him.”
The announcement and all five of the positional award winners as part of the Naismith Starting Five was made by ESPN. The other winners are: The Bob Cousy Award given to Payton Pritchard of Oregon; Jerry West Award given to Myles Powell of Seton Hall; Obi Toppin of the Dayton Flyers won the Karl Malone Award; and the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award went to Iowa center Luka Garza.
Written By: Glenn Papazian