Friday, November 05, 2004
ATLANTA, GA. – University of Alabama junior forward Kennedy Winston is one of 50 of the country's top collegiate men's basketball players who has been named as a pre-season candidate for the Naismith Trophy presented by Cingular Wireless. The list was announced on Friday by the Atlanta Tipoff Club. The Naismith Trophy is the most prestigious national award presented annually to the men's and women's players of the year.
Winston, who is from Prichard, was 1st Team All-Southeastern Conference in 2004 and is also on the official list as a pre-season candidate for the John R. Wooden National Player of the Year award.
The Top 50 list for the Naismith Award was compiled 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 pre-season criteria on player performances from last season. Alabama has never produced a collegiate winner, but it has had two players who were the Naismith National High School players of the Year, Gerald Wallace, who is now playing for the NBA’s Charlotte Bobcats, and Yolanda Watkins who played on the Alabama women’s 1994 Final Four team.
"The Naismith Trophy is the most prestigious honor in college basketball," said Gary Stokan, Atlanta Tipoff Club president. "Any of our pre-season candidates are worthy of this honor and we look forward to an exciting year to see who will raise the Naismith in April."
As part of their involvement, Cingular is making this year's selection process unique. For the first time, college basketball fans nationwide will have a voice in deciding who wins the Naismith Trophy presented by Cingular Wireless through the power and ease of wireless text messaging.
"Cingular is proud to continue its support of college athletics and the student athletes who participate and excel," said Daryl Evans, vice president of advertising and marketing for Cingular Wireless. "The Naismith Trophy is one of the highest honors in all of sports and we are excited to partner with the Atlanta Tipoff Club and college basketball fans nationwide to help recognize the most outstanding player in college basketball."
In January, the Board of Selectors will narrow its pre-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. Beginning in mid-February, CBS' "Cingular at the Half" will feature a weekly Naismith Trophy Watch highlighting the players in contention. The player of the year will be recognized at the NCAA Men's Final Four in April.
The pre-season candidates for the Naismith Trophy presented by Cingular Wireless, listed in alphabetical order, are as follows:
Hassan Adams (Arizona), Sean Banks (Memphis), Brandon Bass (LSU), Andrew Bogut (Utah), Kevin Bookout (Oklahoma), Dee Brown (Illinois), Taylor Coppenrath (Vermont), Paul Davis (Michigan State), Travis Diener (Marquette), Ike Diogu (Arizona State), B.J. Elder (Georgia Tech), Daniel Ewing (Duke), Raymond Felton (North Carolina), Torin Francis (Notre Dame), Channing Frye (Arizona), Francisco Garcia (Louisville), John Gilchrist (Maryland), Ryan Gomes (Providence), Joey Graham (Oklahoma State), Justin Gray (Wake Forest), Chuck Hayes (Kentucky), Julius Hodge (N.C. State), Jarrett Jack (Georgia Tech), Carl Krauser (Pittsburgh), Keith Langford (Kansas), David Lee (Florida), John Lucas Jr. (Oklahoma State), Sean May (North Carolina), Jason Maxiell (Cincinnati), Rashad McCants (North Carolina), Gerry McNamara (Syracuse), Chris Paul (Wake Forest), J.J. Redick (Duke), Anthony Roberson (Florida), Lawrence Roberts (Mississippi State), Nate Robinson (Washington), Luke Schenscher (Georgia Tech), Mustafa Shakur (Arizona), Wayne Simien (Kansas), Salim Stoudamire (Arizona), Chris Thomas (Notre Dame), Ronny Turiaf (Gonzaga), Charlie Villanueva (Connecticut), Matt Walsh (Florida), Hakim Warrick (Syracuse), Deron Williams (Illinois), Shelden Williams (Duke), Kennedy Winston (Alabama), Curtis Withers (Charlotte), and Bracey Wright (Indiana).
Last year's Naismith Trophy recipient was Saint Joseph's University guard Jameer Nelson. Other notable men's college player of the year winners include Bill Walton, Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, Patrick Ewing and Christian Laettner. For more information, visit www.naismithawards.com.