ATLANTA -- Creighton junior Doug McDermott, who was named a finalist for the award last season, and Indiana sophomore Cody Zeller highlight the 2012-2013 Naismith early season watch list, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced Tuesday.

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 2012-2013 college basketball season. The Naismith Men’s College Player of the Year will be awarded on April 7, 2013, in Atlanta.

Other notable players include Ohio State junior tandem Aaron Craft and Deshaun Thomas, and Murray State senior Isaiah Cannan. Seven freshmen are on the list, including UCLA’s Shabazz Muhammad, who claimed the 2012 Naismith High School Boy’s Player of the Year.

“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.”

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.

Other notable Naismith Men’s College Player of the Year alumni include two three-time winners in Bill Walton and Ralph Sampson, Michael Jordan, Kevin Durant and last year’s winner, Anthony Davis of Kentucky. The Naismith Men’s College Player of the Year is the most prestigious national award presented annually to college basketball’s best player.

2012-13 NAISMITH EARLY SEASON WATCH LIST
PLAYER CLASS POS. SCHOOL
Kyle Anderson Freshman F UCLA
Chane Behanan Sophomore F Louisville
Kenny Boynton Senior G Florida
Lorenzo Brown Junior G NC State
Trey Burke Sophomore G Michigan
Isaiah Cannan Senior G Murray State
Michael Carter-Williams Sophomore G Syracuse
Rotnei Clarke Senior G Butler
Jack Cooley Senior F Notre Dame
DJ Cooper Senior G Ohio
Aaron Craft Junior G Ohio State
Matthew Dellavedova Senior G Saint Mary's
Gorgui Dieng Junior C Louisville
Michael Dixon Jr. Junior G Missouri
Jamaal Franklin Junior G San Diego State
Tim Frazier Senior G Penn State
Archie Goodwin Freshman G Kentucky
Elias Harris Senior F Gonzaga
Pierre Jackson Senior G Baylor
Sean Kilpatrick Junior G/F Cincinnati
CJ Leslie Junior F NC State
Mark Lyons Senior G Arizona
Trevor Mbakwe Senior F Minnesota
James Michael McAdoo Sophomore F North Carolina
CJ McCollum Senior G Lehigh
Doug McDermott Junior F Creighton
Rodney McGruder Senior G Kansas State
Ben McLemore Freshman G Kansas
Tony Mitchell Sophomore F North Texas
Mike Moser Junior F UNLV
Shabazz Muhammad Freshman G/F UCLA
Nerlens Noel Freshman F Kentucky
Kevin Pangos Sophomore G Gonzaga
Mason Plumlee Senior F Duke
Otto Porter Sophomore F Georgetown
Alex Poythress Freshman F Kentucky
Phil Pressey Junior G Missouri
Andre Roberson Junior F Colorado
Peyton Siva Senior G Louisville
Marcus Smart Freshman G Oklahoma State
Michael Snaer Senior G Florida State
Jarnell Stokes Sophomore F Tennessee
Adonis Thomas Sophomore F Memphis
Deshaun Thomas Junior F Ohio State
Christian Watford Senior F Indiana
Jeff Withey Senior C Kansas
Nate Wolters Senior G South Dakota State
BJ Young Sophomore G Arkansas
Patric Young Junior C Florida
Cody Zeller Sophomore F Indiana