SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- Duke freshman Jahlil Okafor was recently selected as one of 15 watch list candidates for this year’s Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced today. Named after Hall of Famer and three-time NCAA Champion Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the annual honor, in its inaugural year, recognizes the top centers in men’s college basketball.
In early March, the list of 15 finalists for the 2015 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award will be whittled down to five. The final five players in contention will be presented to Abdul-Jabbar and the Hall of Fame committee for selection. The award will be honored to the winner at ESPN’s new College Basketball Awards presented by Wendy’s Friday, April 10, 2015. Coverage of the award ceremony will occur on ESPN2 at 8 p.m.
Okafor, an eight-time ACC Rookie of the Week honoree, has continued to score efficiently for the Blue Devils this season. The Chicago, Ill., native has recorded 25 consecutive double-digit scoring games, a Duke freshman record. Okafor also became the first Blue Devil in Duke history to record 10 games of shooting 75 percent or better from the field. At the conference level, Okafor ranks among the top five in numerous categories, including points per game (18.2 - 1st), field goal percentage (.665 - 1st) and offensive rebounds per game (4.04 - 1st). Okafor’s 66.5 percent from the field also ranks second in the nation this season.
2015 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award Candidates
Bobby Portis, University of Arkansas
Alan Williams, University of California, Santa Barbara
Josh Scott, University of Colorado
Jahlil Okafor, Duke University
Joshua Smith, Georgetown University
Willie Cauley-Stein, University of Kentucky
Jarell Martin, Louisiana State University
Kennedy Meeks, University of North Carolina
Brad Waldow, Saint Mary’s College
Stefan Nastic, Stanford University
Rakeem Christmas, Syracuse University
Jakob Poeltl, University of Utah
Damian Jones, Vanderbilt University
Daniel Ochefu, Villanova University
Frank Kaminsky, University of Wisconsin