Nov. 17, 2010
ATLANTA - Washington State University men's basketball junior Klay Thompson has been named to the 2010-11 Naismith preseason watch list, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced this week.
A native of Ladera Ranch, Calif., Thompson earned All-Pac-10 First Team honors as a sophomore after being named to the all-freshman team in his rookie season. The Cougars' leading scorer in 2009-10, Thompson became the third fastest and 31st overall Cougar to reach 1,000 career points. Thompson accomplished the feat in just 63 games and finished his sophomore season with 1,023 points in 64 games. Just two games into thid season Thompson is averaging 19.0 points and 7.5 assists a game. He is currently tied for 24th on WSU's all-time scoring list with 1,061 points, just three shy of the last Cougar to reach 1,000, Aron Baynes (2008-09).
Thompson is the first Cougar to make the list since Derrick Low and Kyle Weaver were both named to the preseason top-50 prior to the 2007-08 season. Weaver went on to make the midseason top-30 cut. Thompson was also named as one of 50 preseason candidates for the 2010-11 John R. Wooden Award this year.
This year's Naismith preseason watch list includes the top men's college basketball players from 44 schools around the country. Washington State is one of only three Pacific-10 Conference school represented on the list, as the league accounts for three of the 50 student-athletes. Thompson is joined by fellow Pac-10 candidates Isaiah Thomas (Washington), and Derrick Williams (Arizona). Duke leads the list with three players, while North Carolina, Purdue, and Ohio State are next, each contributing two representatives. This year's list includes 24 seniors, 15 juniors, five sophomores and six freshmen.
"This year's watch list features an incredible array of talent from across the country, which will create a tremendous challenge for our voting academy in determining the winner of the most prestigious trophy in college basketball," said Eric Oberman, Atlantic Tipoff Club executive director.
The Naismith Trophy is presented annually to college basketball's men's and women's player of the year. The Atlantic Tipoff Club, founded during the1956-57 season, has presented the Naismith Trophy every year since UCLA's Lew Alcindor first won the award in 1969. They assemble the list on the bases on criteria centered on player performances from the previous year and expectations for the 2010-11 season.
The Naismith Trophy, presented by AT&T, will be awarded at the 2011 NCAA Men's Final Four in Houston. Since 2005, AT&T has allowed fans to participate in determining the trophy winner. Using text messaging, fan voting will account for 25% of the final results, which is more than any other national college basketball award.
Fans will continuously be updated on progress of the selected athletes, with help from TV and media coverage. Beginning in February, during CBS' coverage of college basketball, the "AT&T at the Half" segment will feature a Naismith Trophy update highlighting the players in contention for the award.
The Atlantic Tipoff Club's Board of Selectors will assemble a mid-season team of the top 30 players in the nation in late February. Then a few weeks later, the Naismith Trophy voting academy will vote to narrow the list to the four finalists.