Kansas senior guard Devonte' Graham has been named one of four finalists for the 50th presentation of the Citizen James A. Naismith Trophy, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced Tuesday.
Joining Graham as finalists are Deandre Ayton, Arizona, Marvin Bagley III, Duke, and Jalen Brunson, Villanova. Graham is vying to become the second straight and third Jayhawk to win the Naismith Trophy. Frank Mason III won the honor in 2017 and Danny Manning was the 1988 recipient.
The four finalists were chosen by the Atlanta Tipoff Club's national voting academy, comprised of leading journalists from around the country, current and former head coaches, former award winners and conference commissioners, all of whom based their selections on outstanding on-court performances during the 2017-18 college basketball season. The vote was tabulated and certified by Aprio, formerly Habif, Arogeti & Wynne, the largest full-service, independent CPA-led business advisory firm, based in Atlanta, GA.
In 2018, fans will have a say in the choosing the winner. Between March 19-30 fans can cast their ballot, which counts for five percent of the vote. On April 1, the 50th Citizen Naismith Trophy will be awarded during the Naismith Awards Brunch at Pearl Stable in San Antonio, TX.
In the past 10 days, Graham has been named the Big 12 Player of the Year, All-Big 12 First Team, one of five finalists for the Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award, All-America First Team by The Sporting News, NCAA.com and the USBWA and on the Wooden Award Final Ballot. On the court, he also earned Big 12 Championship All-Tournament Team honors after averaging 14.3 points and 10 assists in guiding Kansas to the tourney title.
On every national player of year watch list, Graham is the only player in NCAA Division I this season averaging 17-plus pts, seven-plus assists, 1.6-plus steals and fewer than three turnovers per game. Graham is third nationally and second in the Big 12, in assists per game at 7.5.
The Raleigh, NC, native leads the Big 12 in assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.7 and is scoring 17.3 points per game, which is third in the conference. He is also sixth in free throw percentage, 83.4, fourth in 3-point field goals made, 2.9, seventh in 3-point field goal percentage, 41.2, and fifth in steals, 1.6.
On Feb. 26, Graham was named the Big 12 Player of the Week for the second time this season after guiding No. 6 Kansas, 27-7, 13-5, to two victories that propelled the Jayhawks to their NCAA-record 14th consecutive, 18th Big 12 and NCAA-leading 61st regular-season conference title.
Graham logged 37.6 minutes per game this year, which ranks as the fifth highest average in a single season at KU. His 98 3-pointers made are fifth on the KU season list as last week he passed his own season-high mark of 94 set in 2016-17. Graham's 254 assists this season are second on the KU list.
Kansas enters the 2018 NCAA Tournament as a No. 1 seed and will face No. 16 seed Penn, 24-8, 12-2 Ivy League, on Thursday at 1 p.m. at INTRUST Bank Arena in Wichita, KS.
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