SPRINGFIELD, MASS. – The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced today the 20 watch list members for the 2017 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award.  Named after Hall of Famer and three-time NCAA Champion Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the annual honor in its third year recognizes the top centers in men’s college basketball.  A national committee comprised of top college basketball personnel determined the watch list of 20 candidates.

“When it comes to collegiate centers, none have accomplished more than Kareem Abdul-Jabbar,” said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame. “As steadfast advocate of the college game and its place in the development of young men as people and athletes, we know Mr. Abdul-Jabbar will offer great insights as we determine the top center in the game this season.”

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar played for legendary coach and Hall of Famer John Wooden at the University of California, Los Angeles from 1966-1969. He is a three-time NCAA Champion who earned numerous accolades including three-time Final Four Most Outstanding Player, three-time National College Player of the Year and three-time Consensus First-Team All-American (1967-1969).

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“I’m honored to be the namesake of this award and hope the candidates on our watch list will feel a sense of pride,” said Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, a 1995 inductee of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and six-time NBA Champion. “These twenty student-athletes truly represent the best in the college game today and I am eager to see what they will achieve in the 2016-17 season.”

By mid-February, the watch list of 20 players for the 2017 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award will be narrowed down to just 10. In March, five finalists will be presented to Mr. Abdul-Jabbar and the Hall of Fame’s selection committee. The winner of the 2017 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award will be presented at the ESPN College Basketball Awards Show presented by Wendy’s in Los Angeles, CA on Friday, April 7, 2017. Broadcast information will be released at a later date.

Previous winners of the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award include Jakob Poeltl, Utah (2016) and Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin (2015). 

Candidates named to the watch list: 

Athlete School
Moses Kingsley Arkansas
Eric Mika BYU
Justin Patton Creighton
Marques Bolden Duke
Zena Edosomwan Harvard
Thomas Bryant Indiana
Bam Adebayo Kentucky
Tim Kempton Lehigh
Omer Yurtseven North Carolina St.
Chris Boucher Oregon
Isaac Haas Purdue
Paschal Chukwu Syracuse
Jarrett Allen Texas
Tyler Davis Texas A&M
Thomas Welsh UCLA
Kennedy Meeks North Carolina
Luke Kornet Vanderbilt
Mo Alie-Cox VCU
Josh Hawkinson Washington St.
Ethan Happ Wisconsin