Anthony Davis Vies to Become First Player from Kentucky and Second Freshman Ever to Win the Naismith Trophy
Draymond Green, Doug McDermott and Thomas Robinson Comprise Rest of the Field
ATLANTA, GA (March 19, 2012) – With Seven NCAA championships and 34 NBA first-round picks, there is still one accolade that the University of Kentucky has yet to win: a Naismith Men’s College Basketball Player of the Year Trophy presented by AT&T. The Atlanta Tipoff Club announced today, with the release of the finalists for Naismith Trophy for Men’s College player of the Year presented by AT&T, that Anthony Davis looks to become the first Kentucky player to win the award. The 6-10 freshman forward led the Wildcats to the No. 1 overall seed in the 2012 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament.
The other three finalists for the award are Kansas junior Thomas Robinson, Michigan State senior Draymond Green and Creighton sophomore Doug McDermott.
“We have four tremendous candidates, all with unique and interesting storylines, vying for this prestigious award,” said Eric Oberman, Executive Director of the Atlanta Tipoff Club. “We wish all the finalists the best of luck throughout the tournament and we look forward to recognizing the winner in New Orleans.”
Beginning March 19, AT&T wireless customers – and sports fans on other wireless networks – will be able to text their votes for the player of their choice by texting VOTE to 34763. Fans will be eligible to cast their vote for the winner until 11:59 p.m. EDT on Saturday, March 31, 2012. For the eighth consecutive year, AT&T is making the voting open to other wireless carriers, enabling even more fans to participate. Other wireless carriers must opt-in for their subscribers to participate. Standard messaging rates apply.
The finalists were voted on by the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s National Voting Academy, comprised of leading basketball journalists, coaches and administrators from around the country. The academy based its criteria on player performances this season. The vote was tabulated and certified by the accounting firm of Habif, Arogeti & Wynne, LLP. HA&W is the largest independent accounting firm in Georgia and one of the top 50 firms in the United States. The winner will be announced at the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Guardians of the Game award program April 1 during the Final Four in New Orleans.
“With the variety of talent these finalists have shown, we know this will be a close race,” said Jamie Kerr, Director, AT&T Corporate Sponsorships. “We at AT&T are looking forward to the results as college basketball fans vote for their favorite finalist to be named this year’s Naismith Men’s College Player of the Year.”
ABOUT THE FINALISTS:
The SEC Player of the Year became the third freshman to win the honor in league history. He set both the school record and SEC freshman mark for most blocks in a season with 146 while averaging 14.4 points and 9.8 rebounds per game for the Wildcats, who secured the No. 1 overall seed in the 2012 NCAA Tournament. Davis also became the fourth player (and third consecutive) from Kentucky to be voted SEC Freshman of the Year.
The Big 12 Player of the Year ended the regular season averaging a double-double, with 17.9 points and 11.8 rebounds per game. He was named the Big 12 Player of the Year and on most every All-American first team named in 2011-12. His 23 double-doubles are tied for the national lead and his 11.8 rebound average is second nationally. The Jayhawks received a No. 2 seed in the 2012 NCAA Tournament in the Midwest Region. With his 30-point, 21-rebound performance against the University of North Dakota, he became the first Jayhawk to reach 30/20 since Wayne Hightower in 1961.
With four Big Ten Men’s Basketball Player of the week awards over the 2011-12 season, Green became the first Spartan to ever win the award more than three times. He was selected as the Big Ten player of the Year by the coaches and media for his regular season campaign, in which he led his team to a 24-7 record and a Big Ten regular season co-championship while averaging a team-high 16.1 points and 10.2 rebounds per game. With a win over Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship, Green and the Spartans earned a No. 1 seed in the West Region of the 2012 NCAA Tournament.
After becoming the first freshman since 1952 to be named to the All-Missouri Valley Conference first team last year, McDermott became the first sophomore ever to be voted the Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year. He ranks third nationally in scoring, averaging 23.2 points per game, seventh nationally in shooting percentage with 61.0 percent. He set a school record 765 points in a single season, and led the Bluejays with 33 points to beat Illinois State in the MVC conference championship to clinch a bid to the 2012 NCAA tournament as a No. 8 seed in the Midwest Region, their first time back since 2007.
Other notable men’s college player of the year winners include Michael Jordan (1984), Ralph Sampson (1981-1983), Larry Bird (1979), Patrick Ewing (1985), Bill Walton (1972-1974) and last year’s winner, Jimmer Fredette, from BYU.
For more information, visit www.naismithawards.com.
ABOUT THE ATLANTA TIPOFF CLUB
The Atlanta Tipoff Club, an Atlanta Sports Council property, is committed to promoting the game of basketball and recognizing the outstanding accomplishments of those who make the game so exciting. The Atlanta Tipoff Club, founded during the 1956-57 season, has presented the Naismith Trophy every year since UCLA’s Lew Alcindor first won the award in 1969. Old Dominion’s Anne Donovan won the inaugural Women’s Naismith Trophy in 1983.
The Naismith Award has become the most prestigious award in all of college basketball, recognizing the Men’s and Women’s College Basketball Player of the Year, Men’s and Women’s College Basketball Coach of the Year, as well as awards for outstanding achievement in high school basketball, officiating, and contribution to the game.