Thirty of the country's top collegiate basketball players were named as mid-season candidates for the Naismith Trophy presented by Cingular Wireless announced by the Atlanta Tipoff Club.
The Top 30 list was compiled by the Atlanta Tipoff Club's Board of Selectors, comprised of leading basketball journalists, coaches and administrators from around the country. The board based its criteria on player performances this season. The list was narrowed down from the pre-season list of 50 candidates who were announced at the beginning of the season.
"This basketball season has been among the most exciting and unpredictable in recent years," said Gary Stokan, Atlanta Tipoff Club president. "It's a result of these players rising to the occasion when it's most important and the one player who distinguishes himself above all others will raise the Naismith Trophy in April."
As part of its involvement, Cingular is making this year's selection process unique. For the first time, college basketball fans have a voice in deciding who wins the Naismith Trophy presented by Cingular Wireless through the power and ease of wireless text messaging.
"The Naismith Trophy symbolizes the best player in the country and all of these candidates are worthy of that honor," said Marc Lefar, Chief Marketing Officer for Cingular. "We are excited that our involvement will enable college basketball fans nationwide to have their say in who will be this year's winner."
Beginning February 12, CBS' "Cingular at the Half" will feature a weekly Naismith Trophy Watch highlighting the players in contention. These players, and others who distinguish themselves throughout the season, will be eligible for the final ballot in March when four finalists for the award are announced by the Atlanta Tipoff Club's Board of Selectors.
The mid-season candidates for the Naismith Trophy presented by Cingular Wireless, listed in alphabetical order, are as follows:
Andrew Bogut, Utah; Josh Boone, Connecticut; Dee Brown, Illinois; Taylor Coppenrath, Vermont; Travis Diener, Marquette; Ike Diogu, Arizona State; Raymond Felton, North Carolina; Channing Frye, Arizona; Francisco Garcia, Louisville; Ryan Gomes, Providence; Joey Graham, Oklahoma State; Luther Head, Illinois; Julius Hodge, North Carolina State; Jarrett Jack, Georgia Tech; John Lucas, Oklahoma State; Sean May, North Carolina; Rashad McCants, North Carolina; Gerry McNamara, Syracuse; Chris Paul, Wake Forest; J.J. Redick, Duke; Lawrence Roberts, Mississippi State; Nate Robinson, Washington; Wayne Simien, Kansas; Craig Smith, Boston College; Salim Stoudamire, Arizona; Ronny Turiaf, Gonzaga; Hakim Warrick, Syracuse; Deron Williams, Illinois; Shelden Williams, Duke; and Kennedy Winston, Alabama.
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 Bill Walton, Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, Patrick Ewing and Christian Laettner.