The Atlanta Tipoff Club has announced its 2011-12 Naismith preseason watch list and Missouri senior guard Marcus Denmon is on this year’s list that includes the top men’s college basketball players from 34 schools around the country.
The watch list was compiled by the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s Board of Selectors, which based its criteria on player performances from the previous year and expectations for the 2011-12 college basketball season. The Naismith Trophy will be awarded at the 2012 NCAA Men’s Final Four in New Orleans.
Denmon earned First Team All-Big 12 honors after averaging 16.9 points, 3.5 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.8 steals per game last season and led the Tigers in scoring, 3-point shots made (82) and three-point field goal percentage (.448). Denmon needs just 28 more steals to move into the Mizzou all-time Top 10 and needs 29 games played in 2011-12 (along with teammate Kim English) to break the school record of 134 held by Mike Sandbothe (1986-89).
In late February, the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s Board of Selectors will compile a mid-season team of the top 30 players in the nation. Then in March, the Naismith Trophy voting academy will vote to narrow the list to the four finalists.
Other notable Naismith Men’s College Player of the Year winners include Bill Walton, Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, Patrick Ewing and last year’s winner, Jimmer Fredette. The Naismith Trophy is the most prestigious national award presented annually to college basketball’s player of the year.