Less than one week after being named to the list of candidates for the John R. Wooden Award, Tennessee sophomore Jarnell Stokes also landed on the Naismith Trophy Watch List, announced this week by the Atlanta Tipoff Club.
The 50-player watch list was compiled by the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s Board of Selectors, which based its criteria on player performances from the previous year and expectations for the 2012-2013 college basketball season. The Naismith Men’s College Player of the Year presented by AT&T will be awarded on April 7, 2013 in Atlanta.
Stokes, a power forward from Memphis, Tenn., also was recently named to both the media’s and SEC coaches’ preseason All-SEC Teams after a breakout freshman campaign during which he averaged 9.6 points and 7.4 rebounds while shooting .534 from the field. He played in just 17 games – scoring in double figures seven times – after graduating high school in December and enrolling at UT mid-seasonIn June, Stokes led Team USA to the gold medal at the 2012 FIBA Americas U18 Championship in Brazil. He started every game for the American squad and averaged 14.0 points and 5.6 rebounds while shooting .689 from the field.
In late February, the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s Board of Selectors will compile a mid-season candidate list of the top 30 players in the nation. Then in March, the Naismith Trophy voting academy will narrow the list to the four finalists.
Notable Naismith Men’s College Player of the Year alumni include two three-time winners in Bill Walton and Ralph Sampson, along with Michael Jordan and Kevin Durant. The Naismith Men’s College Player of the Year presented by AT&T is one of the most prestigious national award presented annually to college basketball’s best player.