MADISON, Wis. – Two standouts from Wisconsin men’s basketball team were named as finalists for national awards at their respective positions Monday, as senior Frank Kaminsky is one of five finalists for the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award and junior Sam Dekker remains in the running for the Julius Erving Award.
Announced by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, five finalists were selected for each of its inaugural college basketball awards, which includes the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award and the Julius Erving Award.
The Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award recognizes the top centers in Division I men’s college basketball, while the Julius Erving Award recognizes the top small forwards in the men’s game. A national committee comprised of top college basketball personnel narrowed the original player watch lists down to the final five candidates in each position.
A leading National Player of the Year candidate, Kaminsky is the only major conference player to lead his team in points, rebounds, assists, blocks and steals. On pace to become the first major conference player to average 18.0 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 2.0 apg and 1.0 bpg since Oklahoma’s Blake Griffin in 2008-09, Kaminsky has eclipsed the 20-point mark in 10 of UW’s last 15 games. The senior from Lisle, Illinois, has scored in double figures in 24 straight games and 29 of 30 games played this season.
Dekker has elevated his play during Big Ten play and made a push for All-Big Ten honors. Having scored in double figures in 18 of the last 21 games, Dekker is one of five players averaging at least 13.5 ppg and 6.0 rpg in Big Ten play, along with teammate Kaminsky, D’Angelo Russell (OSU), Denzel Valentine (MSU) and Aaron White (Iowa). Dekker ranks second on UW this season for scoring (13.1 ppg) And third for rebounding (5.5 rpg).
The winners of the Basketball Hall of Fame college basketball awards will be determined by a combination of fan votes and input from the Hall of Fame’s selection committees. Fans are encouraged to visit www.HoophallAwards.com to cast their votes March 9-18.
The winners of the inaugural awards will be awarded at ESPN’s new College Basketball Awards presented by Wendy’s from Club Nokia in Los Angeles, CA on Friday, April 10, 2015. The Awards will be televised live on ESPN2 at 7 p.m. (CT).
2015 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award Finalists
Frank Kaminsky – University of Wisconsin
Willie Cauley-Stein – University of Kentucky
Rakeem Christmas – Syracuse University
Bobby Portis – University of Arkansas
Jahlil Okafor – Duke University
2015 Julius Erving Small Forward of the Year Award Finalists
Sam Dekker – University of Wisconsin
Justin Anderson – University of Virginia
LaDontae Henton – Providence College
Stanley Johnson – University of Arizona
Justice Winslow – Duke University
*courtesy Wisconsin Athletic Communications