Gonzaga University senior men’s basketball forward Elias Harris and sophomore guard Kevin Pangos have been named to the early-season watch list for the Naismith as college basketball’s Player of the Year.
The 50-player 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 2013 college basketball season. The Naismith Men’s College Player of the Year presented by AT&T will be awarded on April 7, 2013, in Atlanta.
Harris, who is also on the Top 50 Watch List for the Wooden Award, averaged 13.1 ppg, 8.5 rpg and 0.8 blocks/game in helping the Zags to a 26-7 record and a 14th straight trip to the NCAA Tournament. He was named to the All-West Coast Conference first team and to the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) District 9 first team. He had 12 double-doubles last year and has 21 in his career.
Harris, from Speyer, Germany, is averaging 115 ppg and 7.0 rpg through the first two games of this season for the 19th-ranked Bulldogs who have defeated Southern Utah University 103-65 and West Virginia University 84-50 in a 2-0 start.
Pangos, from Newmarket, Ontario, averaged nearly 14 points and more than three assists per game last season while earning All-WCC first–team and was also tabbed the conference’s Newcomer of the Year. He is averaging 11.5 ppg and 4.5 assists/game through the first two games.
“This is a terrific time of year, filled with hope and optimism among players, coaches and fans,” said Eric Oberman, executive director of the Atlanta Tipoff Club. “We look forward to seeing all the student-athletes display their talents on the court and showcase themselves as viable Naismith Trophy candidates.”
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 narrow the list to the four finalists.
Former Gonzaga standout Adam Morrison was a finalist for the 2006 award.
Other notable Naismith Men’s College Player of the Year alumni include two three-time winners in Bill Walton and Ralph Sampson, Michael Jordan, Kevin Durant and last year’s winner, Anthony Davis of Kentucky.