ATLANTA — The Atlanta Tipoff Club announced today the 2021 Jersey Mike’s Naismith Trophy Watch List, which includes the 2020 Jersey Mike’s Naismith High School Trophy winner, Cade Cunningham, now a freshman at Oklahoma State University, the 2020 Naismith Men’s Defensive Player of the Year winner, Marcus Garrett from Kansas, and Iowa’s Luka Garza, who was a finalist for the 2020 Men’s Player of the Year honor. Gonzaga leads the 50-player watch list with four players included on the list, followed by Duke, which has won more Jersey Mike’s Naismith Trophies (8) than any other school. Seven schools have two players represented include Baylor, Illinois, Kentucky, LSU, North Carolina, Stanford and Villanova. Overall, the ACC and Big Ten top the list, each with eight players represented, while the Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC are close runners-up with six candidates on the watch list.
“The beginning of the season is filled with excitement, optimism and anticipation as each team and every player is undefeated, making the race for the Jersey Mike’s Naismith Trophy wide open. While these 50 candidates are those to keep an eye on, there will be plenty of others who will enter the competition throughout the season,” said Eric Oberman, executive director of the Atlanta Tipoff Club. “This year will be especially exciting as players who were unable to finish their seasons last year have even more to prove.”
A list of the midseason 30 team will be released in early February, followed by the 10 national semifinalists and four finalists on March 4, 2021, and March 16, 2021, respectively. Players who do not make the watch list are still eligible to be selected for the midseason 30 team. The 2021 Jersey Mike’s Naismith Trophy will be awarded during the Final Four at the Naismith Awards Brunch on April 4, 2021.
“As we sponsor the collegiate honor for the first year, Jersey Mike’s is excited to partner with the Naismith Trophy,” said Rich Hope, chief marketing officer, Jersey Mike’s Franchise Systems, Inc. “We look forward to following these stellar athletes throughout the season and honoring one of these talented players as the winner of the 2021 Jersey Mike’s Naismith Trophy.”
ABOUT THE ATLANTA TIPOFF CLUB
Founded during the 1956-57 season, the Atlanta Tipoff Club is committed to promoting the game of basketball and recognizing the outstanding accomplishments of those who make the game so exciting. The Atlanta Tipoff Club administers the Naismith Awards, the most prestigious national honors in all of college and high school basketball. Named in honor of Dr. James Naismith, inventor of the game of basketball, the family of Naismith Awards annually recognizes the most outstanding men’s and women’s college and high school basketball players and coaches. Other Naismith Awards are presented to the men’s and women’s college basketball defensive players of the year, as well as lifetime achievement awards to basketball officials and outstanding contributors to the game. UCLA’s Lew Alcindor received the first Jersey Mike’s Naismith Trophy in 1969, while the late Anne Donovan (Old Dominion) was the inaugural women’s recipient in 1983. Corporate partners of the Naismith Awards include Jersey Mike’s and Werner Ladder.