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Three Big 12 Stars On Midseason Naismith List
February 24, 2009
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Three of the Big 12’s top men’s basketball players – Oklahoma’s Blake Griffin, Sherron Collins of Kansas and A.J. Abrams of Texas – are part of the student-athlete list under consideration for the Naismith Trophy, it was announced. The trio is part of a group of 30 midseason candidates for the 2009 Naismith Trophy presented by AT&T, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced.

The top 30 men’s list was voted on by the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s Board of Selectors, comprised of leading basketball journalists, coaches and administrators from around the country. The board 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 Naismith Trophy presented by AT&T is among the most prestigious national basketball award and is given annually to the men’s college basketball player of the year. This year, the award will be presented at the NCAA Men’s Final Four in Detroit.

This season marks the 40th anniversary of the first Naismith Trophy, which was presented to UCLA’s Lew Alcindor, who is known today as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. At the time, the Atlanta Tipoff Club, founded during the 1956-57 basketball season, was looking to create a national identity for its brand and created the award to honor the best basketball player in the nation. Alcindor, along with UCLA head coach John Wooden, flew to Atlanta in the spring of 1969 to receive the trophy.

“Looking at the college basketball landscape, it’s understandable that so many of the top players nationwide are contenders for the Naismith Trophy,” said Gary Stokan, president, Atlanta Tipoff Club. “The final month of the season will be telling, and that is what makes college basketball so exciting.” 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. This year, beginning March 22, AT&T wireless customers — and sports fans on other wireless networks — will be able to text their votes for the player of their choice.

Fans will be eligible to cast their vote for the winner until 8 p.m. CT on Saturday, April 4, 2009. AT&T is making the voting open to other wireless carriers, allowing even more fans to participate. Other wireless carriers must opt-in for their subscribers to participate.

2009 Naismith Men’s Midseason Candidates
A.J. ABRAMS, TEXAS
Jeff Adrien, Connecticut
DeJuan Blair, Pittsburgh
Trevor Booker, Clemson
Jon Brockman, Washington
Nick Calathes, Florida
Dionte Christmas, Temple
Earl Clark, Jr., Louisville
SHERRON COLLINS, KANSAS
Stephen Curry, Davidson
Devan Downey, South Carolina
BLAKE GRIFFIN, OKLAHOMA
Tyler Hansbrough, North Carolina
Luke Harangody, Notre Dame
James Harden, Arizona State
Gerald Henderson, Duke
Robbie Hummel, Purdue
James Johnson, Wake Forest
Ty Lawson, North Carolina
Eric Maynor, VCU
Jack McClinton, Miami
Jerel McNeal, Marquette
Jodie Meeks, Kentucky
Patrick Mills, Saint Mary’s
Tyrese Rice, Boston College
Kyle Singler, Duke
Jeff Teague, Wake Forest
Hasheem Thabeet, Connecticut
Terrence Williams, Louisville
Sam Young, Pittsburgh

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 an emblem of excellence for the game, 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.

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