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Frank Kaminsky, Jahlil Okafor among ten semifinalists for Naismith Award

Rayvonte Rice, Frank Kaminsky

AP Photo


Wednesday afternoon the Atlanta Tipoff Club revealed the ten semifinalists for the Naismith Trophy, which is annually given to the best player in college basketball as voted upon by their selection committee. Among the ten players on the list are Wisconsin senior forward Frank Kaminsky and Duke freshman center Jahlil Okafor, who are seen by many as the favorites to win national Player of the Year honors.

Also on the list in Kentucky junior Willie Cauley-Stein, whose impact on the defensive end of the floor has been one of the keys for the top-ranked and undefeated Wildcats. Of the ten players on the list two are freshmen, with Ohio State guard D’Angelo Russell joining Okafor.

The senior class is the most represented on the list with there being five, followed by the freshman and junior classes (two apiece) and one sophomore (Murray State’s Cameron Payne). Gonzaga is the lone program to have two players on the list, as senior point guard Kevin Pangos and junior forward Kyle Wiltjer were selected.

Below is the list of semifinalists for the Naismith Trophy, with the four finalists scheduled to be announced March 22.

F Willie Cauley-Stein, Kentucky (junior)
G Jerian Grant, Notre Dame (senior)
F Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin (senior)
C Jahlil Okafor, Duke (freshman)
G Kevin Pangos, Gonzaga (senior)
G Cameron Payne, Murray State (sophomore)
G D’Angelo Russell, Ohio State (freshman)
F Seth Tuttle, Northern Iowa (senior)
F Kyle Wiltjer, Gonzaga (junior)
G Delon Wright, Utah (senior)