Five standouts from the Big 12, including two freshmen, are among the men's basketball student-athletes on the 2012-2013 Naismith early season watch list, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced. Pierre Jackson (Baylor), Ben McLemore and Jeff Withey (Kansas), Rodney McGruder (Kansas State) and Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State) were recognized.
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 2012-13 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.
"This is a terrific time of year, filled with hope and optimism among players, coaches and fans," said Eric Oberman, executive director of the Atlanta Tipoff Club. "We look forward to seeing all the student-athletes display their talents on the court and showcase themselves as viable Naismith Trophy candidates."
"AT&T is proud to support the tradition of the Naismith Trophy and help recognize these student athletes for their hard work," said Jamie Kerr, Director, AT&T Corporate Sponsorships. "We wish each candidate the best of luck and every fan a memorable college basketball season."
In late February, the Atlanta Tipoff Club's Board of Selectors will compile a mid-season team of the top 30 players in the nation. Then in March, the Naismith Trophy voting academy will narrow the list to the four finalists. The Big 12 Conference has had three players earn the award in its history - Blake Griffin of Oklahoma (2008-09) and Kevin Durant (2006-07) and T.J. Ford (2002-03) of Texas.
For more information, visit Naismithawards.com.
2012-13 Naismith Trophy Early Season Watch List - Big 12 Representatives
Pierre Jackson, Baylor
Rodney McGruder, Kansas State
Ben McLemore, Kansas
Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State
Jeff Withey, Kansas