Griffin Headlines Naismith List

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma

Feb. 25, 2009

ATLANTA - No college program has ever won a Heisman Trophy and a Naismith Trophy in the same academic year, but Blake Griffin is looking to put Oklahoma in uncharted territory. The 6-10 sophomore hopes to follow fellow Sooner Sam Bradford in being named the top player in his respective sport, as Griffin headlines the 30 mid-season candidates for the 2009 Naismith Trophy presented by AT&T, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced Tuesday.

Among those joining Griffin are Stephen Curry (Davidson), 2008 winner Tyler Hansbrough (North Carolina), Luke Harangody (Notre Dame), Jodie Meeks (Kentucky) and Jeff Teague (Wake Forest).

Overall, the ACC has nine players on the list, followed by the Big East with eight. Six schools are represented by two players apiece: Connecticut, Duke, Louisville, North Carolina, Pittsburgh and Wake Forest.

The top 30 men's list was voted on 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 vote was tabulated and certified by the accounting firm of Habif, Arogeti & Wynne, LLP. HA&W is the largest independent accounting firm in Georgia and one of the top 50 firms in the United States. The Naismith Trophy presented by AT&T is the most prestigious national basketball award and is given annually to the men's college basketball player of the year. This year, the award will be presented at the NCAA Men's Final Four in Detroit.

This season marks the 40th anniversary of the first Naismith Trophy, which was presented to UCLA's Lew Alcindor, who is known today as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. At the time, the Atlanta Tipoff Club, founded during the 1956-57 basketball season, was looking to create a national identity for its brand and created the award to honor the best basketball player in the nation. Alcindor, along with UCLA head coach John Wooden, flew to Atlanta in the spring of 1969 to receive the trophy.

"Looking at the college basketball landscape, it's understandable that so many of the top players nationwide are contenders for the Naismith Trophy," said Gary Stokan, president, Atlanta Tipoff Club. "The final month of the season will be telling, and that is what makes college basketball so exciting."

For the sixth consecutive season, presenting sponsor AT&T will once again set the standard in allowing fans to participate in determining this year's winner. Through the power and ease of text messaging, fan voting will account for an unprecedented 25 percent of the final results - more than any other national college basketball award. This year, beginning March 22, AT&T wireless customers - and sports fans on other wireless networks - will be able to text their votes for the player of their choice.

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