Naismith Hall of Fame names inaugural watch list for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award

February 17, 2015

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who numerous experts believe is the greatest player in the history of professional and collegiate basketball, received some long overdue recognition, as the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced the fifteen watch list members for the 2015 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award.

Named after Hall of Famer and three-time NCAA Champion Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the annual honor in its inaugural year recognizes the top centers in men’s college basketball.  The watch list was determined by a national committee comprised of top college basketball personnel.

“It’s truly an honor for this award to bear my name,” said Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, a 1995 inductee of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and six-time NBA Champion.  “The fifteen athletes on this list represent the most dedicated, determined and skillful centers in college basketball today and I wish them well as they head into March.”

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar played for legendary coach John Wooden at UCLA from 1966-1969. He is a three-time NCAA Champion who earned numerous accolades including three-time Final Four Most Outstanding Player, three-time National College Player of the Year and three-time Consensus First-Team All-American (1967-1969).

“For many years the Basketball Hall of Fame has recognized the top collegiate point guards in the nation with the Bob Cousy Award. We are excited to expand upon these awards by now recognizing the top players at each position,” said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame.  “When it comes to collegiate centers, none have accomplished more than Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and we are pleased to include him in this celebration of the best in the game today.”

By early March, the current list of 15 finalists for the 2015 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award will be narrowed down to five players.  The final five players in contention for the award will be presented to Mr. Abdul-Jabbar and the Hall of Fame’s selection committee.  The winner of the 2015 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award will be presented at ESPN’s new College Basketball Awards from Club Nokia in Los Angeles on Friday, April 10, 2015.

2015 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award Candidates 

Bobby Portis, University of Arkansas
Alan Williams, University of California, Santa Barbara
Josh Scott, University of Colorado
Jahlil Okafor, Duke University
Joshua Smith, Georgetown University
Willie Cauley-Stein, University of Kentucky
Jarell Martin, Louisiana State University
Kennedy Meeks, University of North Carolina
Brad Waldow, Saint Mary’s College
Stefan Nastic, Stanford University
Rakeem Christmas, Syracuse University
Jakob Poeltl, University of Utah
Damian Jones, Vanderbilt University
Daniel Ochefu, Villanova University
Frank Kaminsky, University of Wisconsin

By Staff of and news services

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