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Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame | October 19, 2018

College basketball awards: 21 centers named to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar preseason watch list

Mary Langenfeld | USA TODAY Sports Images ethan happ-wisconsin basketball

The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced today the 21 watch list members for the 2019 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award. Named after Class of 1995 Hall of Famer and three-time NCAA Champion Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the annual honor in its fifth year recognizes the top centers in men’s college basketball.  A national committee comprising top college basketball personnel determined the watch list of 21 candidates.

“Rounding out our Naismith Starting 5 is an award in honor of a man whose talent and accolades are unparalleled,” said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame. “Kareem Abdul-Jabbar built a legacy at UCLA and continued his winning ways as a pro. We’re grateful for his involvement in our college positional awards and the time and thought he dedicates toward selecting a recipient come April.”

MORE: Jerry West Award watch list | Julius Erving Award watch list | Karl Malone Award watch list | Bob Cousy Award watch list

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). As a professional, Abdul-Jabbar is a six-time NBA Champion, six-time NBA Most Valuable Player, two-time NBA Finals MVP, 19-time NBA All-Star and the league’s all-time leading scorer.

By mid-February, the watch list of 21 players for the 2019 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 2019 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award will be presented at The College Basketball Awards presented by Wendy’s in Los Angeles, CA on Friday, April 12, 2019, along with the other four members of the Naismith Starting 5. Additional awards being presented and receiving support from Eaton Ephesus Lighting include the Bob Cousy Point Guard Award, the Jerry West Shooting Guard Award, the Julius Erving Small Forward Award and the Karl Malone Power Forward Award. Broadcast information will be released by ESPN at a later date.

Previous winners of the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award include Angel Delgado, Seton Hall (2018), Przemek Karnowski, Gonzaga (2017), Jakob Poeltl, Utah (2016) and Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin (2015).

Here are the 2018-19 candidates:

Name School
Daniel Gafford Arkansas
Austin Wiley Auburn
James Thompson IV Eastern Michigan
Jessie Govan Georgetown
Killian Tillie Gonzaga
Alessandro Lever Grand Canyon
Udoka Azubuike Kansas
Nick Richards Kentucky
Cameron Krutwig Loyola Chicago
Naz Reid LSU
Jalen Smith Maryland
Dewan Hernandez Miami
Nick Ward Michigan State
Jontay Porter Missouri
Bol Bol Oregon
Tacko Fall UCF
Moses Brown UCLA
James Dickey UNC Greensboro
Charles Bassey Western Kentucky
Nathan Knight William & Mary
Ethan Happ Wisconsin