Naismith Trophy

Denzel Valentine
Associated Press

Naismith Trophy early season watch list released

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Wednesday afternoon the Atlanta Tipoff Club released its early season watch list for the Naismith Trophy, which is annually given to the nation’s top college basketball player. Fifty players are on the initial list, and a player being left off does not prevent them from appearing on lists that will be released later this season or winning the award at season’s end.

Seven freshmen made the initial list, including LSU’s Ben Simmons and Kentucky’s Skal Labissiere and Jamal Murray. Labissiere and Murray are joined on the list by teammate Tyler Ulis, making Kentucky one of two schools that can boast three players. The other school with three players on the initial watch list is Kansas, with guards Frank Mason III and Wayne Selden Jr., and forward Perry Ellis making the cut.

There are a number of programs with two players on the list, including Duke (Grayson Allen, Brandon Ingram), Gonzaga (Domas Sabonis, Kyle Wiltjer), Iowa State (Monté Morris, Georges Niang) and Wichita State (Ron Baker, Fred VanVleet). Below is the full list, with the midseason watch list (30 players) scheduled to be released in February.

Sophomore SG Grayson Allen (Duke)
Senior PF Ryan Anderson (Arizona)
Senior PG Ryan Arcidiacono (Villanova)
Senior SG Ron Baker (Wichita State)
Junior SF DeAndre Bembry (Saint Joseph’s)
Senior SG Malcolm Brogdon (Virginia)
Freshman SF Jaylen Brown (California)
Senior G Kyle Collinsworth (BYU)
Senior SG Kellen Dunham (Butler)
Junior PG Kris Dunn (Providence)
Senior SG A.J. English (Iona)
Senior PG Yogi Ferrell (Indiana)
Senior PF Rico Gathers Sr. (Baylor)
Senior G Michael Gbinije (Syracuse)
Junior SG Jack Gibbs (Davidson)
Senior C A.J. Hammons (Purdue)
Senior SG Shaquille Harrison (Tulsa)
Junior F Nigel Hayes (Wisconsin)
Senior SG Buddy Hield (Oklahoma)
Senior SG Danuel House (Texas A&M)
Freshman G/F Brandon Ingram (Duke)
Junior PG Demetrius Jackson (Notre Dame)
Sophomore SF Justin Jackson (North Carolina)
Junior C Damian Jones (Vanderbilt)
Freshman PF Skal Labissiere (Kentucky)
Senior SG Damion Lee (Louisville)
Senior SG Caris LeVert (Michigan)
Junior PG Frank Mason III (Kansas)
Senior SG Sheldon McClellan (Miami)
Senior PG Nic Moore (SMU)
Junior PG Monté Morris (Iowa State)
Freshman SG Jamal Murray (Kentucky)
Freshman SG Malik Newman (Mississippi State)
Senior PF Georges Niang (Iowa State)
Senior PG Marcus Paige (North Carolina)
Senior G Gary Payton II (Oregon State)
Sophomore F/C Jakob Poeltl (Utah)
Sophomore PF Domantas Sabonis (Gonzaga)
Junior G/F Wayne Selden Jr. (Kansas)
Freshman F Ben Simmons (LSU)
Senior PG D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera (Georgetown)
Freshman PF Caleb Swanigan (Purdue)
Junior PG Isaiah Taylor (Texas)
Sophomore PG Melo Trimble (Maryland)
Sophomore PG Tyler Ulis (Kentucky)
Senior G Denzel Valentine (Michigan State)
Senior PG Fred VanVleet (Wichita State)
Senior PG Tyrone Wallace (California)
Senior PF Kyle Wiltjer (Gonzaga)

Finalists for Naismith Men’s College Coach of the Year award announced

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Wednesday afternoon the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced the four finalists for this year’s Naismith Men’s College Coach of the Year award, and the list is made up of three one-seeds and one two-seed in the upcoming NCAA tournament.

Kentucky’s John Calipari, whose team has won all 34 of its games to date, is on the list as are Villanova’s Jay Wright, Wisconsin’s Bo Ryan and Virginia’s Tony Bennett. Calipari, Wright and Ryan all coach teams that are one-seeds in the NCAA tournament, with Bennett’s Cavaliers being the two-seed in the East.

All four coaches finished atop their respective conferences during the regular season, with Bennett’s Cavaliers and Wright’s Wildcats doing so for a second consecutive season. In the case of Virginia, they became the first team located outside of the state of North Carolina to accomplish this feat in ACC history.

And three, Calipari, Wright and Ryan, followed up their regular season conference title with a conference tournament crown. The Atlanta Tipoff Club will announce the winner at its annual awards brunch April 5 in Indianapolis.

Semifinalists for Naismith Coach of the Year trophy announced

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In addition to announcing its ten semifinalists for the Naismith Trophy, the Atlanta Tipoff Club revealed the fifteen semifinalists for the Naismith Men’s College Coach of the Year Award. Among the semifinalists are Kentucky head coach John Calipari, Virginia head coach Tony Bennett and Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan.

Of the coaches on the list four have won the award in the past. Calipari won his first Naismith Coach of the Year award in 1996 when he was at UMass, with Bennett winning the honor in 2007 while he was at Washington State. Villanova head coach Jay Wright won the award in 2006, and Kansas’ Bill Self did so in 2012.

Five conferences have two representatives on the list: the ACC (Bennett and Notre Dame’s Mike Brey), Big 12 (Self and Baylor’s Scott Drew), Big East (Wright and Butler’s Chris Holtmann), Big Ten (Wisconsin’s Bo Ryan and Maryland’s Mark Turgeon) and the Pac-12 (Utah’s Larry Krystkowiak and Oregon State’s Wayne Tinkle).

Wichita State head coach Gregg Marshall won the award last season. Below is the full list of this year’s semifinalists, with the finalists to be revealed March 19. The winner will be announced Sunday, April 5.

Tony Bennett, Virginia
Mike Brey, Notre Dame
John Calipari, Kentucky
Scott Drew, Baylor
Mark Few, Gonzaga
Chris Holtmann, Butler
Ben Jacobson, Northern Iowa
Larry Krystkowiak, Utah
Archie Miller, Dayton
Steve Prohm, Murray State
Bo Ryan, Wisconsin
Bill Self, Kansas
Wayne Tinkle, Oregon State
Mark Turgeon, Maryland
Jay Wright, Villanova

Frank Kaminsky, Jahlil Okafor among ten semifinalists for Naismith Award

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Wednesday afternoon the Atlanta Tipoff Club revealed the ten semifinalists for the Naismith Trophy, which is annually given to the best player in college basketball as voted upon by their selection committee. Among the ten players on the list are Wisconsin senior forward Frank Kaminsky and Duke freshman center Jahlil Okafor, who are seen by many as the favorites to win national Player of the Year honors.

Also on the list in Kentucky junior Willie Cauley-Stein, whose impact on the defensive end of the floor has been one of the keys for the top-ranked and undefeated Wildcats. Of the ten players on the list two are freshmen, with Ohio State guard D’Angelo Russell joining Okafor.

The senior class is the most represented on the list with there being five, followed by the freshman and junior classes (two apiece) and one sophomore (Murray State’s Cameron Payne). Gonzaga is the lone program to have two players on the list, as senior point guard Kevin Pangos and junior forward Kyle Wiltjer were selected.

Below is the list of semifinalists for the Naismith Trophy, with the four finalists scheduled to be announced March 22.

F Willie Cauley-Stein, Kentucky (junior)
G Jerian Grant, Notre Dame (senior)
F Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin (senior)
C Jahlil Okafor, Duke (freshman)
G Kevin Pangos, Gonzaga (senior)
G Cameron Payne, Murray State (sophomore)
G D’Angelo Russell, Ohio State (freshman)
F Seth Tuttle, Northern Iowa (senior)
F Kyle Wiltjer, Gonzaga (junior)
G Delon Wright, Utah (senior)

Four finalists for 2014 Naismith Trophy announced

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Sunday afternoon the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced the four finalists for the Naismith Trophy, which is given annually to the best player in college basketball. The finalists are Arizona junior guard Nick Johnson, Creighton senior forward Doug McDermott, Duke freshman forward Jabari Parker and Louisville senior guard Russ Smith.

Of the four finalists just one, McDermott, has been a finalist for the Naismith Trophy before with the Big East Player of the Year making the list in both 2012 and 2013. Fan votes will account for one-fourth of of the selection process, with voting opening up March 24 and continuing until April 5. The winner will be announced April 6 in Dallas.

McDermott and Johnson won Player of the Year awards in their respective conferences this season, and all four have made various All-America teams since the end of the regular season. McDermott, the favorite to win many of the major individual awards, is averaging 27.0 points and 7.1 rebounds per contest. Johnson, who helped lead Arizona to a Pac-12 regular season title and a one-seed in the NCAA tournament, has accounted for 16.3 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game for Sean Miller’s Wildcats.

Smith has been the leader for a Louisville team that is in the Sweet 16 for the third consecutive season and won both the regular season (shared with Cincinnati) and tournament titles in the American Athletic Conference. Smith is averaging 18.1 points, 4.7 assists and 3.3 rebounds per game for the defending national champions. And Parker, the ACC’s Freshman of the Year, averaged 19.1 points and 8.7 rebounds per game for a Duke team that finished the season with a record of 26-9 (13-5 ACC).