Indiana’s Blackmon on West Award watch list

Indiana head coach Tom Crean talks with James Blackmon Jr. during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against the Eastern Illinois, Friday, Nov. 13, 2015, in Bloomington, Ind. Indiana won 88-49. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Indiana head coach Tom Crean talks with James Blackmon Jr. during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against the Eastern Illinois, Friday, Nov. 13, 2015, in Bloomington, Ind. Indiana won 88-49. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced today the 20 watch list members for the 2017 Jerry West Shooting Guard of the Year Award, and for the second consecutive season, Indiana’s James Blackmon Jr. is on the list.

Blackmon Jr., a native of Marion, Indiana, averaged 15.8 points and 4.2 rebounds during the 2015-16 season before a knee injury sidlined him at the end of December for the remainder of the season. As a freshman in 2014-15, he averaged 15.7 points – sixth-best among all freshmen – and earned Honorable Mention All-Big Ten accolades. He connected on 77 3-point field goals his freshman year to set a new IU record for 3-pointers made by a freshman.

Named after Hall of Famer and 1959 NCAA Final Four Most Valuable Player Jerry West, the annual honor in its third year recognizes the top shooting guards in Division I men’s college basketball.  A national committee comprised of top college basketball personnel determined the watch list of 20 candidates.

“Jerry West is one of the best shooting guards to ever play the game, and is undoubtedly one of the most competitive players as well,” said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame. “The twenty collegiate athletes on this list have proven to have a similar work ethic and we look forward to seeing their results as they compete this season.”

Jerry West attended West Virginia University and averaged 24.8 points and 13.3 rebounds per game in his three varsity seasons. He led his team to the NCAA Championship game in 1959 and was named a consensus All-American in 1959 and 1960. In the summer of 1960, he was co-captain of the U.S. men’s basketball team and won an Olympic gold medal. As a professional player, West played 14 seasons in the NBA with the Lakers making the All-NBA First Team 10 times. West won an NBA championship in 1972 and was named the NBA Finals MVP in 1969 despite his team not winning the championship. In 1996, he was named a member of the NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Time Team.

“Now in its third year, this award’s watch list has included a tremendous pool of athletes and all the nominees should be very proud,” said Jerry West, a 1979 inductee of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. “It is truly an honor be associated with this award and I’m looking forward to a great season of competition as we narrow our list of candidates.”

By mid-February, the watch list of 20 players for the 2017 Jerry West Shooting Guard of the Year Award will be narrowed to just 10. In March, five finalists will be presented to Mr. West and the Hall of Fame’s selection committee.  The winner of the 2017 Jerry West Award will be presented at the ESPN College Basketball Awards Show in Los Angeles, CA on Friday, April 7, 2017. Broadcast information will be released at a later date.

Previous winners of the Jerry West Shooting Guard of the Year Award include Buddy Hield, Oklahoma (2016) and D’Angelo Russell, Ohio State (2015). For more information on the 2017 Jerry West Award, log onto www.HoophallAwards.com.

2017 Jerry West Shooting Guard of the Year Award Candidates

Allonzo Trier Arizona
Dusty Hannahs Arkansas
Nick Emery Brigham Young University
Jacob Evans Cincinnati
Charles Cooke Dayton
Grayson Allen Duke
Jordan Matthews Gonzaga
Malcolm Hill Illinois
James Blackmon Jr. Indiana
Peter Jok Iowa
Devonte’ Graham Kansas
Malik Monk Kentucky
Antonio Blakeney Louisiana State University
Donovan Mitchell Louisville
Eron Harris Michigan St.
Elijah Brown New Mexico
Tyler Dorsey Oregon
E.C. Matthews Rhode Island
Shake Milton Southern Methodist University
Isaac Hamilton University of California, Los Angeles

*Players can play their way onto and off of the list at any point in the 2016-17 season*

About the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame: Located in Springfield, Massachusetts, the city where basketball was invented, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame promotes and preserves the game of basketball at every level – professional, collegiate and high school, for both men and women on the global stage.