AND THEN THERE WERE FOUR: NAISMITH MEN’S COLLEGE PLAYER OF THE YEAR FINALISTS ANNOUNCED
ATLANTA (March 20, 2016) – The list of finalists for the James A. Naismith Trophy, recognizing the most outstanding men’s college basketball player, is loaded with seniors and includes four conference players of the year. Malcolm Brogdon (University of Virginia), Buddy Hield (University of Oklahoma), Tyler Ulis (University of Kentucky) and Denzel Valentine (Michigan State University) make up the final ballot, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced today.
The four finalists were 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, which based their selections on outstanding on-court performances during the 2015-16 college basketball season. The vote was tabulated and certified by the accounting firm of Habif, Arogeti & Wynne, LLP. HA&W is the largest independent accounting firm in Georgia and one of the top 50 firms in the United States.
The winner will be announced on Sunday, April 3 at the Naismith Awards Brunch delivered by UPS in Houston.
“To be named a finalist for this award speaks volumes about the talent and character present in each of these remarkable student-athletes,” said Eric Oberman, executive director of the Atlanta Tipoff Club. “It’s too bad that we can’t present four awards, because each of these young men is worthy of being called a Naismith Trophy winner. We’re honored to consider them deserving candidates.”
About the finalists:
Malcolm Brogdon, Senior
- ACC Player of the Year and ACC Defensive Player of the Year – the first player in conference history to garner both honors in the same season.
- He led the Cavaliers with 18.4 points per game throughout the regular season and 19.9 points per game in conference play.
- Brogdon was also named to the all-ACC first team for the third consecutive season, one of four Virginia players in program history to be so honored.
- He led the team in scoring for the past three years and helped the Cavaliers win at least 12 ACC games in each of the past three seasons, a feat Virginia previously hadn’t achieved since 1983. The team’s 45 ACC wins over the past three years are the second most in league history.
Buddy Hield, Senior
- The two-Time Big 12 Player of the Year, and two-time All Big 12 first team, was first among Power 5 players in scoring (25.0 ppg).
- He is the only player in America to average 25 ppg and 5 rpg.
- Hield notched 10 30-point games and 16 25-point games this season.
- Currently, he leads the nation in 3-point field goals made with 127, and 3-point field goals per game with 4.0.
- The guard sits fourth nationally in 3-point field goal percentage (.464).
- Hield was named an Academic All-Big 12 performer for the second consecutive season.
Tyler Ulis, Sophomore
- He was named Southeastern Conference Player of the Year.
- Ulis is averaging 17.2 points and an SEC-best 7.2 assists, which ranks sixth nationally.
- In six of his last 12 games, he has dished out 10 assists and in 13 of his last 23 games, he’s scored 20 or more points.
- He has the single-season school record for most 20-point, five-assist games with 14. He was one of just three players nationally to achieve that feat and the lone underclassman.
- In league play, he averaged 8.4 assists with a 4.5 assist-to-turnover ratio. He played 672 of a possible 725 minutes in SEC games, committing a turnover every 19.8 minutes per game.
- Already second on the school’s single-season assists list with 236 dimes, Ulis is on pace to break John Wall’s single-season record of 241 assists set in 2009-10. He is the only player with 27 consecutive games with four or more assists since at least 1972-73.
Denzel Valentine, Senior
- He was named Big Ten Player of the Year by the conference’s media and coaches.
- The first Big Ten player since 1997 to lead the conference in overall scoring (19.4 ppg) and assists (7.6 apg), he finished conference play averaging 20.5 points and 7.8 assists, just the fourth player to pace the conference in both categories in Big Ten play since 1975.
- Valentine led the Big Ten in 3-point field goals made, both overall (3.4) and in conference games (3.8). He is the first Spartan to lead the conference in scoring in Big Ten games since 2002, and just the ninth Spartan all-time to accomplish that feat.
- In games which he has started, Valentine has either made or assisted on 50.7 percent of MSU’s baskets.
- He is the only Spartan to rank in the Michigan State Top 10 in both career assists (3rd, 627) and career rebounds (9th, 824). In addition, he ranks 11th in career scoring (1,632), fourth in career 3-point field goals made (262), and fourth in career 3-point field-goal attempts (642). He also ranks tied for third in career games played (143).
Notable winners have included Bill Walton (1972-74, UCLA), Larry Bird (1979, Indiana State University), Michael Jordan (1984, University of North Carolina), David Robinson (1987, United States Naval Academy) and last year’s winner, Frank Kaminsky (University of Wisconsin).
For more information, visit www.naismithtrophy.com.
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, which are the most prestigious national honors in all of college basketball. Named in honor of Dr. James Naismith, inventor of the game of basketball, the Naismith Awards recognize the top men’s and women’s college basketball players, coaches, administrators and officials. The Naismith Trophy was first presented to UCLA’s Lew Alcindor (later known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) in 1969. Old Dominion’s Anne Donovan won the inaugural Women’s Naismith Trophy in 1983.
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