ATLANTA — With four players looking to win the first Citizen Naismith Trophy for their schools and a record six juniors selected, the Atlanta Tipoff Club has announced the 10 semifinalists vying for the honor of Men’s Player of the Year.
Juniors Carsen Edwards (Purdue), Rui Hachimura (Gonzaga), Markus Howard (Marquette), Dedric Lawson (Kansas), Grant Williams (Tennessee) and Cassius Winston (Michigan State) look to follow in the footsteps of Villanova junior Jalen Brunson, who won the 50th Citizen Naismith Trophy last year. Three of those juniors—Hachimura, Williams and Winston—would be the first from their schools to bring home the Men’s Player of the Year honor.
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Sophomore Ja Morant would also be the first from his school, Murray State, to win the Citizen Naismith Trophy. Fellow sophomore PJ Washington would be the second winner from Kentucky, following Anthony Davis, who won the award as a freshman in 2012. Juniors Edwards and Howard are also in search of the second win for their schools, following Purdue’s Glenn Robinson (1994) and Marquette’s Butch Lee (1978). Lawson would join fellow Jayhawk winners Frank Mason III (2017) and Danny Manning (1988). Meanwhile, Duke, which is represented by both freshmen on the list—R.J. Barrett, who won the 2018 Jersey Mike’s High School Naismith Trophy, and Zion Williamson—looks to claim its eighth Citizen Naismith Trophy. Overall, the semifinalists come from nine schools across seven conferences nationally.
“These semifinalists have played extremely well throughout the season and their careers thus far,” said Eric Oberman, executive director of the Atlanta Tipoff Club. “As the regular season comes to an end, we will see these players persevere and excel as they compete in the post season and for the Citizen Naismith Trophy.”
The four finalists will be announced on March 19, 2019, and beginning March 22 through April 3, 2019, fans will have a chance to vote for their favorite player of the four by visiting naismithtrophy.com/vote to cast their ballot. The fan vote will account for 5 percent of the overall vote. The 2019 Citizen Naismith Trophy will be awarded at the Naismith Awards Brunch presented by Mortenson on April 7, 2019, during the Final Four in Minneapolis.
“These players have shown the talent, commitment and drive this season worthy of the Citizen Naismith Trophy,” said Eric Horowitz, managing director U.S. and travel retail, Citizen Watch Company of America, Inc. "We are looking forward to watching them continue to compete for the Men’s Player of the Year honor.”
|Carsen Edwards||Jr.||G||Purdue||Big Ten|
|Markus Howard||Jr.||G||Marquette||Big East|
|Dedric Lawson||Jr.||F||Kansas||Big 12|
|Ja Morant||So.||G||Murray State||OVC|
|Cassius Winston||Jr.||G||Michigan State||Big Ten|
The four finalists will be chosen by the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s national voting academy, comprised of leading journalists from around the country, current and former head coaches, former award winners and conference commissioners, all of whom base their selections on outstanding on-court performances during the 2018-19 college basketball season. The vote will be tabulated and certified by Aprio, formerly Habif, Arogeti & Wynne, the largest full-service, independent CPA-led business advisory firm, based in Atlanta.