Record Six Juniors Recognized as Semifinalists for the Citizen Naismith Trophy

ATLANTA (March 6, 2019) – 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 University), Rui Hachimura (Gonzaga University), Markus Howard (Marquette University), Dedric Lawson (University of Kansas), Grant Williams (University of Tennessee) and Cassius Winston (Michigan State University) 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.

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 the University of 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 eight 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 to cast their ballot. The fan vote will account for five 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.”

2019 Citizen Naismith Trophy Semifinalists

CarsenEdwardsJr.GPurdueBig Ten 
MarkusHowardJr.GMarquetteBIG EAST 
DedricLawsonJr.FKansasBig 12
JaMorantSo.GMurray StateOVC
CassiusWinstonJr.GMichigan StateBig 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.

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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 Citizen 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 Bona, Citizen Watch Company, Jersey Mike’s and Werner Ladder.


Citizen, a pioneer in watchmaking and innovative technology since 1918, promotes excellence and creativity with a deep-rooted respect for craftsmanship. Citizen advocates “Better Starts Now,” searching for and accomplishing goals that are cause driven. In this respect, Citizen aligns with organizations and personalities that reflect the values of the brand including the Naismith Awards and Good360.

For over 40 years, Citizen’s Eco-Drive technology has served as the prime example of how the brand is dedicated to making the world and its environment a better place. A simple yet revolutionary concept, Eco-Drive harnesses the power of light from any natural or artificial light source and converts it into energy, eliminating the need for any battery replacement.


 Media Contact:

Traci Messier

Jackson Spalding for the Atlanta Tipoff Club