SPRINGFIELD, MASS. – The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced that Xavier University junior Trevon Bluiett is on the 20-member watch list for the 2017 Julius Erving Small Forward of the Year Award. Named after Hall of Famer and 11-time NBA All-Star Julius Erving, the annual honor in its third year recognizes the top small forwards in Division I men’s college basketball. A national committee comprised of top college basketball personnel determined the watch list of 20 candidates.
Bluiett, a 2016-17 Preseason First Team All-BIG EAST Conference selection by the league coaches, was a 2015-16 USA TODAY Third Team All-American and 2015-16 First Team All-BIG EAST selection. Bluiett led Xavier in scoring at 15.1 ppg. (ninth in BIG EAST) and 3-point field goals made (fourth in BIG EAST at 2.3 mpg.) as a sophomore, while ranking third on the team in rebounding at 6.1 rpg. (15th in the BIG EAST). Bluiett is Xavier’s top returning scorer and rebounder from last season.
“Julius Erving is unquestionably one of the most respected and gifted athletes to ever play the game of basketball,” said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame. “Before he was the professional super star known as Dr. J, he was an outstanding small forward at UMass. The young men on this watch list have shown glimpses of Mr. Erving’s skillset and we look forward to watching them develop this season.”
Julius Erving attended the University of Massachusetts and averaged 26.3 points and 20.2 rebounds per game, making him one of only six NCAA men’s basketball players to average more than 20 points and 20 rebounds per game. After two seasons, Erving made the jump the American Basketball Association and was the league’s most recognizable player when it merged with the National Basketball Association in 1976. During his professional career, Erving won three championships, four most valuable player awards and three scoring titles. In 1996, he was named a member of the NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Time Team.
“I’m excited to be a part of this process as we set out to identify the top small forward in the college game this year,” said Julius Erving, a 1993 inductee of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. “These student-athletes have worked tirelessly to earn their places on this elite watch list and I know they will continue to improve throughout the season. It’s anyone’s award to be earned.”
By mid-February, the watch list of 20 players for the 2017 Julius Erving Small Forward of the Year Award will be narrowed to just 10. In March, five finalists will be presented to Mr. Erving and the Hall of Fame’s selection committee. The winner of the 2017 Julius Erving Award will be presented at the ESPN College Basketball Awards in Los Angeles, CA on Friday, April 7, 2017. Broadcast information will be released at a later date.
Previous winners of the Julius Erving Small Forward of the Year Award include Denzel Valentine, Michigan State (2016) and Stanley Johnson, Arizona (2015). For more information on the 2017 Julius Erving Award, log onto www.HoophallAwards.com.
2017 Julius Erving Small Forward of the Year Award Candidates
Evan Bradds - Belmont
Kelan Martin - Butler
Jaron Blossomgame - Clemson
Terry Larrier - Connecticut
Jayson Tatum - Duke
Dwayne Bacon - Florida St.
OG Anunoby - Indiana
Deng Adel - Louisville
Justin Jackson - North Carolina
VJ Beachem - Notre Dame
Jae'Sean Tate - Ohio St.
Dillon Brooks - Oregon
Tres Tinkle - Oregon St.
Vince Edwards - Purdue
Dikembe Dixson - University of Illinois at Chicago
Kevin Hervey - UT Arlington
Jalen Moore - Utah St.
Josh Hart - Villanova
Markis McDuffie - Wichita St.
Trevon Bluiett - Xavier
*Players can play their way onto and off of the list at any point in the 2016-17 season*