The 10 finalists for the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award, given to the top center in college basketball, were officially named Friday.
According to HoopHallAwards.com, Utah's Jakob Poeltl, Purdue's A.J. Hammons and Gonzaga's Domantas Sabonis are among the nominees:
Here is a full look at the list of 10:
|Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award 2016 Finalists|
|Zach Auguste||Senior||Notre Dame|
|Josh Hawkinson||Junior||Washington State|
|Joel Bolomboy||Senior||Weber State|
None of this year's finalists were among the five finalists announced in 2015; however, Poeltl and Colorado's Josh Scott were each on last year's watch list.
Former Wisconsin and current Charlotte Hornets big man Frank Kaminsky won the inaugural award in 2015 en route to also capturing Naismith College Player of the Year honors.
Abdul-Jabbar, who won three NCAA championships at UCLA and six NBA championships with the Milwaukee Bucks and the Los Angeles Lakers, is looking forward to another great race for the award this season, per HoopHall.com: "It's truly an honor for this award to bear my name. Last year’s finalists featured an elite class including Frank Kaminsky, Jahlil Okafor and Willie Cauley-Stein. We expect this year's competition to be just as tough."
From a pure statistical standpoint, it can be argued that Egidijus Mockevicius of Evansville and Joel Bolomboy of Weber State are the co-front-runners.
Mockevicius is averaging an impressive 16.6 points, 14.1 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per game, while Bolomboy is putting up 17.4 points, 13.4 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per contest.
Should the voters opt to favor a player from a higher-profile school, though, Sabonis has an excellent shot to take the accolade.
The son of former Portland Trail Blazers star Arvydas Sabonis is producing to the tune of 17.3 points and 11.5 rebounds per game for the Zags.
According to Jon Rothstein of CBSSports.com, Sabonis is considered to be one of the top rebounders in the nation:
The 6'11" Lithuanian and the other nine finalists will have plenty of time to strengthen their candidacy in the coming months, as the winner won't be announced until the ESPN College Basketball Awards on April 8.
While there are no clear-cut players to beat like Kaminsky and Jahlil Okafor last year, the battle for the 2016 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award promises to be an exciting one due to its wide-open nature.
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