Naismith Award

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Gregg Marshall, Billy Donovan among finalists for Naismith Coach of the Year award


Thursday afternoon the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced its five finalists for the Naismith Coach of the Year award, with Wichita State’s Gregg Marshall and Florida’s Billy Donovan among the five finalists.

The other three finalists for the award, with the winner to be announced on April 6 in Dallas, are Michigan’s John Beilein, Virginia’s Tony Bennett and SMU’s Larry Brown. Of the five finalists four won at least their conference’s regular season title, with three of those four (Bennett, Donovan and Marshall) pulling off the regular season/tournament conference title double.

Brown is the only finalist whose team did not reach the NCAA tournament, with the Mustangs being one of the last teams left out of the field. SMU began Postseason NIT play with a win over UC Irvine on Wednesday.

Both Brown and Bennett have won this award in the past, with Brown doing so in 1988 after leading Kansas to the national title and Bennett doing so at Washington State in 2007.

Doug McDermott, Russ Smith among Naismith semifinalists

Russ Smith
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One day after the USBWA announced its fifteen finalists for the Oscar Robertson Award the Atlanta Tipoff Club released its list of ten semifinalists for the Naismith Award. Among the ten players on the list are seniors Doug McDermott (Creighton) and Russ Smith (Louisville), along with highly regarded freshmen such as Tyler Ennis (Syracuse), Jabari Parker (Duke) and Andrew Wiggins (Kansas).

Here’s the full list of semifinalists for the award, with the Naismith Award voting academy selecting four finalists that will be revealed on March 23:

  • G Tyler Ennis (Syracuse)
  • G Nick Johnson (Arizona)
  • G Sean Kilpatrick (Cincinnati)
  • F Doug McDermott (Creighton)
  • G Shabazz Napier (UConn)
  • F Jabari Parker (Duke)
  • F Julius Randle (Kentucky)
  • G Russ Smith (Louisville)
  • G Fred Van Vleet (Wichita State)
  • F Andrew Wiggins (Kansas)

Seven conferences are represented on the list, with the American Athletic (three semifinalists) and ACC (two) leading the way in regards to the number of players selected. The senior and freshman classes can each claim four players among the ten, with Johnson (junior) and Van Vleet (sophomore) being the exceptions.

Naismith Award watch list stretches from A(nderson) to Z(eller)

Kyle Anderson, Devonte Brown
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The Naismith Men’s Player of the Year Award early season watch list has been published, and it’s loaded with the usual suspects.

The state of Kentucky fared well, with Louisville and Kentucky landing three players apiece on the list. Chane Behanan, Peyton Siva and Gorgui Dieng were the Cardinals honored. The Wildcats, unsurprisingly, were represented by an all-freshman troika of Archie Goodwin, Alex Poythress and Nerlens Noel.

In fact, there were plenty of first-year players on the list, with UCLA’s Kyle Anderson coming first alphabetically, joined by the Kentucky recruits, Ben McLemore (Kansas), Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State) and his own currently ineligible teammate Shabazz Muhammad.

Non-BCS programs were well represented, as they have been in All-America lists across the land. South Dakota State’s Nate Wolters is on the list, as are Isaiah Canaan (Murray State), Rotnei Clarke (Butler), CJ McCollum (Lehigh), DJ Cooper (Ohio), Doug McDermott (Creighton) and several players from the WCC and Mountain West conferences.

The power shift in the ACC was plainly evident, as well. Duke is represented by lone ranger Mason Plumlee, while traditional rival UNC had just James Michael McAdoo to carry the standard. Florida State has Michael Snaer. Resurgent NC State, on the other hand, will be repped by two players: Lorenzo Brown and CJ Leslie.

The Atlanta Tipoff club has sponsored the Naismith Award since 1969, when UCLA’s Lew Alcindor claimed the first trophy. Other winners have included Bill Walton, Michael Jordan, Kevin Durant and, most recently, Kentucky’s Anthony Davis.