The Atlanta Tipoff Club has announced the watch list for the 2009 Naismith Trophy and five Big 12 standouts are part of that list. Leading the way are players from the two top ranked teams in the conference – Blake Griffin of No. 4 Oklahoma and A.J. Abrams and Damion James of No. 5 Texas. In addition, Curtis Jerrells (Baylor) and Sherron Collins (Kansas) are included on the 50-player listing.
The 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 2008-09 college basketball season. The watch list does not include incoming freshmen, although those student-athletes will be considered in the first vote in February 2009. The Naismith Trophy presented by AT&T will be awarded at the 2009 NCAA Men’s Final Four in Detroit, Mich.
“The talent level across all conferences continues to impress, and that will create an even greater challenge for our voting academy when it comes time to select the winner in April,” said Gary Stokan, Atlanta Tipoff Club president. “And we look forward to this special season, our 40th anniversary of one of the most prestigious trophies in all of college basketball.”
For the sixth consecutive season, presenting sponsor AT&T will once again set the standard in allowing fans to participate in determining this year’s winner. Through the power and ease of text messaging, fan voting will account for an unprecedented 25 percent of the final results – more than any other national college basketball award. At the beginning of February, CBS’ “AT&T at the Half” will feature a weekly Naismith Trophy update highlighting the players in contention.
In February, the Naismith Trophy voting academy, comprised of leading basketball journalists, coaches and administrators from around the country, will narrow its early season list to the Top 30 players in the nation. Those players, and others who distinguish themselves throughout the season, will be eligible for the final ballot in March.
For more information, visit naismithawards.com.
Big 12 Players On The 2008-09 Naismith Trophy Early Season Watch List
| Name || School|| Class || Position |
| Curtis Jerrells|| Baylor || Senior || Guard |
| Sherron Collins|| Kansas || Junior || Guard |
| Blake Griffin|| Oklahoma || Sophomore ||Forward|
| A.J. Abrams || Texas || Senior ||Guard|
| Damion James ||Texas||Junior|| Forward/Guard |