ATLANTA -- A unique lineup comprising a freshman, a junior and two seniors represents the variety among the four remaining candidates vying for the 2014 Naismith Trophy presented by AT&T. Duke freshman Jabari Parker, Arizona junior Nick Johnson, Creighton senior Doug McDermott, and Louisville senior Russ Smith are the 2014 Naismith Trophy Men’s College Player of the Year finalists, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced Sunday. McDermott also was a finalist for the 2012 and 2013 Naismith Trophy.
The four finalists were chosen by the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s Board of Selectors, which based selections on individual performances throughout the 2013-14 men’s college basketball regular season. The winner of the Naismith Trophy Men’s College Player of the Year trophy will be revealed April 6 in Dallas.
For the 10th consecutive year, fans will have the opportunity to vote for the player of their choice and help determine the 2014 Naismith Trophy winner. Beginning March 24 and running through April 5 fans can cast their vote through the online and mobile optimized site www.NaismithVote.com. The fan vote represents 25 percent of the selection process – the largest fan impact of any collegiate basketball award.
“Each of the remaining candidates demonstrates a unique style of basketball, and their individual accomplishments reflect their talent and dedication to the sport,” said Eric Oberman, executive director of the Atlanta Tipoff Club. “Additionally, they have been key contributors to their team’s successes throughout the season and that truly exemplifies strong leadership. We would be happy to call any of them a Naismith Trophy winner.”
“This year’s talented finalists have entertained us this entire season and will continue to showcase their leadership and abilities during the tournament,” said Jamie Kerr, director, AT&T Corporate Sponsorships. “Narrowing the field to only four finalists was a daunting challenge for the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s Board of Selectors. Now the fans have the unique opportunity to cast their vote to recognize the men’s college basketball player of the year.”
About the finalists
Nick Johnson, junior, Arizona: The 6-foot-3 guard averaged a team-high 16.2 points, along with 4 RPG, and 2.8 APG for the Wildcats. He was named Pac-12 Player of the Year, and a member of the Pac-12 All-Defensive Team and Pac-12 Tournament All-Tournament Team. He scored 20 or more points in 11 games this season, leading Arizona to the Pac-12 regular season conference championship.
Doug McDermott, senior, Creighton: The 2012 and 2013 Naismith Trophy finalist ranks fifth in NCAA history with 3,105 career points. He was a preseason All-American, aiming to become AP’s first three-time First Team All-American since Patrick Ewing & Wayman Tisdale (1983-85). One of only three men in NCAA history with 3,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in a career, he was named the Big East Player of the Year after being named MVC Player of the Year as a sophomore and junior to become the third player in NCAA history named POY in multiple conferences.
Jabari Parker, freshman, Duke: ACC Freshman of the Year and first team All-American Jabari Parker ranks second in the ACC in scoring at 19.3 points per game, which ranks as the highest scoring average by a freshman in school history. Parker also is tied for the ACC lead in rebounding (8.8 rpg.) and ranks third in field goal percentage (.478 -- 232-of-485). He has an ACC-leading 14 double-doubles, which ranks as the most in school history by a freshman. And, he is the first Duke freshman to earn All-America first team honors and the second to earn All-America honors from any major outlet.
Russ Smith, senior, Louisville: A first-team All-America selection this season and the AAC Tournament Most Outstanding Player, Smith is the only player in the American Athletic Conference to rank among the top five in league-only stats in all of scoring (18.0 ppg, 4th), assists (4.7), steals (2.3, 1st), and 3-point percentage (.474, 1st). The 6-1 senior is the only Louisville player in history with at least 1,800 career points, 350 assists and 250 steals.
Other notable Naismith Trophy alumni include a pair of three-time winners in Bill Walton (1972, ‘73, ‘74) and Ralph Sampson (1981, ‘82, ‘83), Michael Jordan (1984), Kevin Durant (2007) and last year’s winner, Trey Burke of Michigan. The Naismith Trophy Men’s College Player of the Year presented by AT&T is the most prestigious national award presented annually to college basketball’s best player. For more information, visit www.naismithawards.com.