Clark and Edey Once Again Headline Finalists for 2024 Jersey Mike’s Naismith Trophy 

ATLANTA (March 26, 2024) – Iowa’s Caitlin Clark and Purdue’s Zach Edey, the reigning Jersey Mike’s Naismith Trophy winners, top this year’s list of finalists vying to earn the trophy that symbolizes the most outstanding players in women’s and men’s college basketball.

Clark was named the Big Ten’s Player of the Year for the third consecutive season in 2024 and is looking to be the first player to win this award in consecutive seasons since UConn’s Breanna Stewart did so from 2014-16. 

Edey would become only the third men’s player to win the Jersey Mike’s Naismith Trophy in consecutive seasons, following Virginia’s Ralph Sampson (1981-83) and UCLA’s Bill Walton (1972-74). Earlier this month, Edey was named the Big Ten’s Player of the Year for the second consecutive year.

Other finalists in the chase for the women’s Player of the Year title include Stanford’s Cameron Brink,  UConn’s Paige Bueckers and Southern California freshman JuJu Watkins.

Bueckers won this award in 2021, following her 2020 honor as the Jersey Mike’s Naismith High School Trophy winner.  Watkins is looking for a second Naismith Trophy, as she won the Jersey Mike’s Naismith High School Trophy in 2023.  

These three programs have several previous Jersey Mike’s Naismith Trophy winners. Lisa Leslie (1994) and Cheryl Miller (1981-83) combined to win four awards for USC, while Stanford has two previous winners, Kate Starbird (1997) and Jennifer Azzi (1990). Bueckers is one of seven UConn players to be honored, joining Brenna Stewart (2014-16), Maya Moore (2009, 2011), Tina Charles (2010), Diana Taurasi (2003, 2004), Sue Bird (2002) and Rebecca Lobo (1995).   

On the men’s side, North Carolina’s RJ Davis could become the fourth Tar Heel to win the Jersey Mike’s Naismith Trophy after Tyler Hansbrough (2008), Antwan Jamison (1998) and Michael Jordan (1984). Tennessee’s Dalton Knecht and Houston’s Jamal Shead are looking to become the first players from their school to win the award.

About the 2024 Jersey Mike’s Naismith Women’s Player of the Year Finalists:

Cameron Brink, Stanford

  • The Pac-12 Player and Defensive Player of the Year, becoming the 20th conference Player of the Year from Stanford.
  • She is one of only two players in Pac-12 history who was named conference Defensive Player of the Year three times (Chiney Ogwumike, Stanford).
  • The only player in the nation to average 17 points, 12 rebounds, and three blocks per game.
  • Leads the nation in blocks (3.6 bpg) and is third in rebounding at 11.9 per game.
  • The first college player with 500 points, 300 rebounds and 100 blocks in consecutive seasons since Breanna Stewart did so from 2014-16.
  • Finalist for the Naismith Women’s Defensive Player of the Year.

Paige Bueckers, UConn

  • Named BIG EAST Player of the Year for the second time after winning in 2020-21.
  • Tied program mark for fastest to 1,000 points (55 games) earlier this season.
  • Her 785 points in 2023-24 are the third-highest total in UConn history.
  • She returned to action this year after missing last season due to injury and led the Huskies in scoring with 21.5 points per game, which ranks 12th in the nation.
  • She has scored 20+ points 26 times in 2023-24 to lead all BIG EAST players.

Caitlin Clark, Iowa

  • Earned her third consecutive Big Ten Player of the Year award.
  • Became the NCAA’s all-time leading scorer in college basketball history. 
  • She leads the nation in scoring (31.9) and assists (8.9) per game.
  • Became the first Division I player to record over 1,000+ points in consecutive seasons.
  • The first Iowa player in program history to be named First Team All-Big Ten in four straight years of competition.
  • Led the Hawkeyes to three consecutive Big Ten Championships for the first time in program history.

JuJu Watkins, Southern California

  • Named Pac-12 Freshman of the Year.
  • Second in the nation in scoring at 26.9 points per game, the second highest in Pac-12 history.
  • Her 861 points is a new USC single-season scoring record and ranks fifth in Pac-12 history.
  • Set a USC scoring record with 51 points at Stanford.
  • One of only five Pac-12 players to tally at least 750 points, 150 rebounds and 50 steals in a season.

About the Jersey Mike’s Naismith Men’s Player of the Year Finalists:

RJ Davis, North Carolina

  • Consensus first-team All-America and the Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year.
  • Leads the ACC in scoring, averaging 21.4 points per game. Has the fourth-most points (768) by a Tar Heel in a single season.
  • Entering the NCAA West Regional, he has made 113 3-point field goals, the most in a season in UNC history. He is also the only Tar Heel to average more than three 3-point field goals per game.
  • Surpassed 2,000 career points and is the fifth-leading scorer (second among Tar Heel guards) in UNC history.
  • Four-time National and ACC Player of the Week during the season.

Zach Edey, Purdue

  • He was named the Big Ten’s Player of the Year for the second consecutive year, becoming only the fourth player in conference history to accomplish this feat.
  • For the second consecutive year, led the conference in scoring (24.4), rebounding (11.7) and field goal percentage (61.9%).
  • He has become the first player in NCAA history to record at least 800 points, 400 rebounds, 75 blocks and 70 assists in a season.
  • Became Purdue’s all-time leading scorer, surpassing Rick Mount, who held the record for 54 years. He enters the NCAA Tournament with 2,339 career points.
  • He is also the school’s all-time leading rebounder with 1,234.
  • Enters Sweet 16 with 2,392 points and rebound number to 1,269.
  • Finalist for the Naismith Men’s Defensive Player of the Year.

Dalton Knecht, Tennessee

  • Southeastern Conference’s Player of the Year, becoming the 10th Volunteer to win the award.
  • Fourth consensus First Team All-American in UT history
  • Among the Top 15 scorers in the nation, averaging 21.2 points per game.
  • He became the second Tennessee player with five 35+ point games in a season (Ernie Grunfeld (1975-76).
  • Averaging 25.5 points per game in conference play, he achieved the second-highest scoring average in the SEC over the past 22 years. This marked the highest conference scoring average among all Division I players during the 2023-24 season.
  • His 717 points in the regular season are tie-3rd on Tennessee’s all-time single-season scoring list.

Jamal Shead, Houston

  • He became the first player in Big 12 history to be named Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year in the same season.
  • The only player in the nation to rank among the top 20 individual leaders in assists per game (6.2, 17th), steals per game (2.26, 16th), and assist-to-turnover ratio (3.15, 17th) through games of March 17.
  • Earlier this season, he became the only player in school history to record 100+ wins, 1,100 points, 600+ assists, and 200+ steals in his career.
  • Twice named the Big 12’s Player of the Week in 2023-24.
  • Finalist for the Naismith Men’s Defensive Player of the Year.

“These players’ remarkable talent and unwavering commitment to college basketball shine throughout their achievements,” said Eric Oberman, President of the Atlanta Tipoff Club. “Their invaluable contributions have significantly contributed to their teams’ triumphs this season. It would be an honor to crown any of these exceptional student-athletes as winners of the prestigious Jersey Mike’s Naismith Trophy.”

“Jersey Mike’s proudly congratulates these outstanding eight basketball players for their well-deserved recognition as finalists for this esteemed award,” said Jeff Hemschoot, Vice President of Marketing at Jersey Mike’s. “Their remarkable prowess and unwavering commitment have captivated and inspired us throughout the season. We take great pride in celebrating their remarkable achievements.”

The 2024 Jersey Mike’s Naismith Trophy for Women’s Player of the Year will be awarded on Wednesday, April 3, at a press conference at the Key Bank Club in Cleveland Browns Stadium during the Women’s Final Four. The 2024 Jersey Mike’s Naismith Trophy Men’s Player of the Year announcement will occur on Sunday, April 7, at the Naismith Awards Brunch during the Final Four in Phoenix. The event will be held at the Phoenix Art Museum. SiriusXM will simulcast the live announcement on SiriusXM College Sports Radio (Channel 84).

Fans will once again be able to support their favorite finalist through the Naismith Awards Fan Vote presented by Jersey Mike’s, which runs Tuesday, March 26, through Tuesday, April 2, at The fan vote will account for five percent of the overall final vote. Fans may also vote by visiting @naismithtrophy, @MarchMadness and @MarchMadnessWBB Twitter pages to vote for their favorite men’s and women’s coaches.

The four finalists for each category 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, all of whom base their selections on outstanding coaching performances during the 2023-24 college basketball season. The vote was tabulated and verified by the Atlanta team of J.S. Held, a global consulting firm.

Each winner will be awarded with the Jersey Mike’s Naismith Trophy, produced and provided by Herff Jones, leading provider of graduation and educational products and services designed to inspire achievement and create memorable experiences for students. A replica trophy will be donated by Herff Jones to the player’s university.

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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 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 AXIA Time, Jersey Mike’s and Werner Ladder.


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Media Contact:

Mallory Hadaway, Atlanta Tipoff Club
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(256) 682-0599