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The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame has announced Duke freshman Dereck Lively II as one of 20 players named to the watch list for the 2023 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award.

With Lively’s selection to the Kareem Abdul-Jabaar Award watch list, Duke becomes the only school to have a player selected to each of the five Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame’s watch lists for the 2022 season. Jeremy Roach (Bob Cousy), Tyrese Proctor (Jerry West), Dariq Whitehead (Julius Erving) and Kyle Filipowski (Karl Malone) had been previously announced this week.

Lively arrives in Durham after being rated the No. 1 overall player in ESPN 100’s rankings for the class of 2022. The Philadelphia, Pa., native was named the Pennsylvania Gatorade Player of the Year in 2022 and led Westtown School to a 31-7 record and the Pennsylvania Independent Schools Athletic Association state championship in 2022. The 7-foot-1 center averaged 14.0 points, 14.0 rebounds and 4.5 blocks per game during his senior year. Lively was also a McDonald’s All-American and a first-team All-State honoree in 2022. During the summer of 2021, Lively competed for Team Final on the Nike EYBL circuit and helped lead his team to a Peach Jam title. He led the EYBL with 3.7 blocks per game, while also adding 8.4 points and 6.7 rebounds. In the Peach Jam championship game, Lively tallied a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds, along with three blocks.

Named after Class of 1995 Hall of Famer and three-time NCAA Champion Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the annual honor in its ninth year recognizes the top centers in men’s college basketball. A national committee of top college basketball personnel determined the watch list of 20 candidates.

College basketball fans are encouraged to participate in Fan Voting presented by Dell Technologies in each of the three rounds. In late January, the watch list of 20 players for the 2023 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award will be narrowed to 10 and then in late February to just five. In March the five finalists will be presented to Abdul-Jabbar and the Hall of Fame’s selection committee where a winner will be selected. The winner of the 2023 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award will be presented on a to be determined date, along with the other four members of the Men’s Starting Five.

For more information on the 2023 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award and the latest updates, log onto and follow @hoophall and #KareemAward on Twitter and Instagram. Starting Five Fan Voting presented by Dell Technologies will go live today, Friday, October 28.

2023 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award Candidates
Charles Bediako – Alabama
Oumar Ballo – Arizona
PJ Hall – Clemson
Ryan Kalkbrenner – Creighton
Dereck Lively II – Duke
Colin Castleton – Florida
Osun Osunniyi – Iowa State
Oscar Tshiebwe – Kentucky
Hunter Dickinson – Michigan
Armando Bacot – North Carolina
Moussa Cissé – Oklahoma State
Kel’el Ware – Oregon
Zach Edey – Purdue
Clifford Omoruyi – Rutgers
Fardaws Aimaq – Texas Tech
Adem Bona – UCLA
Adama Sanogo – UConn
Branden Carlson – Utah
Jamarion Sharp – Western Kentucky
Jack Nunge – Xavier