Kansas Senior Wayne Simien Named Finalist for Naismith Trophy

March 20, 2005


Four of the nation’s top men’s college basketball players were named as finalists for the Naismith Trophy presented by Cingular Wireless, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced today. Kansas’ Wayne Simien, <?xml:namespace prefix=”st1″ ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags”?>Utah’s Andrew Bogut, Wake Forest’s Chris Paul andDuke’s J.J. Redickhave been selected to the final ballot. The Naismith Trophy is the most prestigious national award presented annually to the men’s and women’s players of the year.<?xml:namespace prefix=”o” ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office”?>

The finalists were chosen through a vote by the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s Board of Selectors, who narrowed the mid-season list of 30 candidates down to the final four. The Board, which is comprised of leading basketball journalists, coaches and administrators from around the country, based its criteria on player performance this season.

“These four finalists represent the best of the best in college basketball,” said Gary Stokan, Atlanta Tipoff Club president. “The statistics speak for themselves; these players have had incredible seasons both as individuals and in leading their teams on the court. We will be proud to honor any of these student-athletes with the Naismith Trophy.”

This year, Cingular is making the selection process unique by giving college basketball fans an unprecedented voice in deciding who wins the Naismith Trophy. Fan voting, through the power and ease of wireless text messaging, will account for 25% of the Board of Selectors final vote. Fans can text message “PLAY” to “26222” to receive the final ballot.

“Each of the four finalists for the Naismith Trophy has distinguished himself on the court this year with outstanding play,” said Marc Lefar, chief marketing officer for Cingular. “We’re excited to provide fans with an opportunity to participate in the voting process and look forward to awarding the Naismith Trophy on April 3.”

The Naismith Trophy Men’s College Player of the Year will be announced in St. Louis on Sunday, April 3. The four finalists will attend the National Association of Basketball Coaches Awards Show where the winner will be announced.

Kansas’s Wayne Simien (6-9, 255) leads the Big 12 in scoring (20.3 ppg) and rebounding (11 rpg) and is the only player in the league to average a double-double this season. The senior forward was named a first-team All-American by the United States Basketball Writers Association and the 2005 Big 12 Player of the Year by the league’s coaches and the media.

Utah’s Andrew Bogut (7-0, 245) ranks second in the nation in rebounding (12.3 rpg), tenth in field goal percentage (62.8) and 16th in scoring (20.7 ppg). The sophomore center has 65 blocked shots and leads the nation with 24 double-doubles this season. He was named ESPN.com’s Men’s Basketball National Player of the Year, a first team All-American by both the United States Basketball Writers Association and National Association of Basketball Coaches.

Wake Forest’s Chris Paul (6-0, 175) is averaging 15.3 points, 6.6 assists and 4.5 rebounds per game. The sophomore guard ranks among Wake Forest’s all-time leaders in assists and steals and earned first team all-ACC and National Association of Basketball Coaches first team All-American honors this year.

Duke’s J.J. Redick (6-4, 190) is averaging an ACC-leading 22.3 points per game, 3.2 rebounds per game, 2.7 assists per game, and has 33 steals on the season. The junior guard was the only unanimous first-team all-ACC selection this year, earned ACC Tournament MVP honors, and was named a first team All-American by the National Association of Basketball Coaches and United States Basketball Writers Association. Last week, Redick was named ACC Player of the Year.

CBS Sports will profile the four Naismith Trophy finalists during its coverage of the 2005 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship starting with the first games of the NCAA ® Sweet 16® on March 24. Voting for the Naismith Trophy Men’s College Basketball Player of the Year will end on Saturday, April 2 at 9:00 PM EST.

Last year’s Naismith Trophy recipient was Saint Joseph’s University guard Jameer Nelson. Other notable men’s college player of the year winners include Kansas’ Danny Manning, Bill Walton, Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, Patrick Ewing and Christian Laettner.

For more information, visit www.naismithawards.com.

Additional notes on Wayne Simien- –Simien is on schedule to graduate this spring with a degree in sociology–Simien has also named first-team All-American by NABC and Rivals.com–Simien led the Big 12 with 16 double-doubles this season–Simien is a three time Big 12 Player of the Week (five times for his career)–Simien was a first-team All-Big 12 selection for the second straight season–Simien averaged 26 points and 12 rebounds in his final six games, including two 30-point performances against Oklahoma State (32 and 30) and a 25-point, 20-rebound game on Senior Night against Kansas State. It was the seventh 20/20 in Big 12 Conference history.–Simien ended his career No. 12 on the KU all-time scoring list with 1,593 points; No. 7 on the career rebounding list at 884; fourth in double-doubles with 38; and tied for fourth in double-figure rebounding games with 39.