Blackmon Jr., Bryant named to Naismith Trophy watch list
Indiana junior James Blackmon Jr. and sophomore Thomas Bryant have been named to the 50-player preseason watch list for the 2017 Naismith Trophy, which honors the top player in college basketball.
Blackmon Jr. and Bryant are two of 10 Big Ten players on the list, joining Bronson Koenig (Wisconsin), Ethan Happ (Wisconsin), Nigel Hayes (Wisconsin), Caleb Swanigan (Purdue), Miles Bridges (Michigan State), Peter Jok (Iowa) and Melo Trimble (Maryland).
The mid-season watch list of 30 players will be announced in early February.
Indiana’s last Naismith Trophy winner was Calbert Cheaney in 1993. Victor Oladipo was a finalist for the award in 2013.
Scott May also won the award in 1976, the same year the Hoosiers went undefeated and won their third national championship.
In addition to being named to the Naismith watch list, Bryant is also a first team preseason All-American by the Blue Ribbon yearbook and a member of the 10-man preseason All-Big Ten team as voted on by the media. Blackmon Jr. is also on the preseason All-Big Ten team.
Additionally, Bryant is on the preseason watch list for the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar award and Blackmon Jr. is on the preseason watch list for the Jerry West award.