New Season Tips Off with 50 Players to Watch Competing for the Top Honor in Men’s College Basketball 

ATLANTA (November 19, 2020) – 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.”

2021 Jersey Mike’s Naismith Trophy Men’s Preseason Watch List

Joel AyayiJr.GGonzagaWCC
Scottie Barnes Fr.GFlorida State ACC
CharlesBasseyJr.CWestern KentuckyC-USA
BrandonBoston Jr.Fr.GKentucky SEC
JamesBouknightSo.GUConnBIG EAST
Garrison Brooks Sr.FNorth Carolina ACC
GregBrown Fr.FTexasBig 12
JaredButlerJr.GBaylorBig 12
Marcus CarrJr.GMinnesotaBig Ten
Terrence Clarke Fr.GKentucky SEC
KofiCockburnSo.CIllinoisBig Ten
Jalen CrutcherSr.GDaytonA-10
CadeCunninghamFr.GOklahoma StateBig 12
Oscarda SilvaSr.FStanfordPac-12
AyoDosunmuJr.GIllinoisBig Ten
Marcus GarrettSr.GKansasBig 12
LukaGarzaSr.CIowaBig Ten
Collin GillespieSr.GVillanovaBIG EAST
A.J.GreenJr.GNorthern IowaMVC
Aaron Henry Jr.FMichigan State Big Ten
Matthew HurtSo.FDuke ACC
TrayceJackson-DavisSo.FIndianaBig Ten
Jalen Johnson Fr.FDuke ACC
KeyontaeJohnson Jr.FFloridaSEC
David Johnson So.GLouisvilleACC
Corey KispertSr.FGonzagaWCC
Isaiah Livers Sr.FMichiganBig Ten
Caleb Love Fr.GNorth Carolina ACC
SandroMamukelashviliSr.FSeton HallBIG EAST
RemyMartinSr.GArizona StatePac-12
Caleb Mills So.GHouston AAC
Wendell Moore So.FDuke ACC
Yves Pons Sr.GTennesseeSEC
JeremiahRobinson-EarlSo.FVillanovaBIG EAST
FattsRussellSr.GRhode IslandA-10
Javonte Smart Jr.GLSU SEC
Chris SmithSr.GUCLAPac-12
Jalen SuggsFr.GGonzagaWCC
MaCio TeagueSr.GBaylor Big 12
Drew TimmeSo.FGonzagaWCC
OscarTshiebweSo.FWest Virginia Big 12
Trendon WatfordSo.FLSU SEC
TrevionWilliamsJr.FPurdueBig Ten
McKinleyWright IVSr.GColoradoPac-12
Marcus ZegarowskiJr.GCreighton BIG EAST


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.


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Media Contact:

Traci Messier

Jackson Spalding for the Atlanta Tipoff Club

[email protected]