Courtesy: Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame
SPRINGFIELD, MASS. – The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced today the 20 watch list members for the 2018 Julius Erving Small Forward of the Year Award. Among the 20 candidates was Duke freshman Gary Trent, Jr., who was a consensus top 20 recruit and number 1 shooting guard prospect as selected by ESPN, for the Blue Devils’ incoming freshman class. The 6-6, 209-pounder was a 2017 McDonald’s All-American selection who averaged 31.8 points, 6.4 rebounds and 3.8 assists at Prolific Prep (California) as a high school senior.
Named after Hall of Famer and 16-year professional basketball player Julius Erving, the annual honor in its fourth year recognizes the top small forwards in Division I men’s college basketball. A national committee comprised of top college basketball personnel determined the watch list of 20 candidates.
“With his combination of domination on the court and tremendous scoring ability, Julius Erving forged the way for future small forwards in the game of basketball,” said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame. “After being a historical player at UMass, he went on to have a monumental career in the ABA and NBA. The Basketball Hall of Fame recognizes the twenty young men on this award watch list as showing similar dedication and skill as Dr. J and we cannot wait to see how they contribute to their teams’ success this season.”
Julius Erving attended the University of Massachusetts and averaged 26.3 points and 20.2 rebounds per game, making him one of only six NCAA men’s basketball players to average more than 20 points and 20 rebounds per game. After two seasons, Erving made the jump to the American Basketball Association and was the league’s most recognizable player when it merged with the National Basketball Association in 1976. During his professional career, Erving won three championships, four most valuable player awards and three scoring titles. In 1996, he was named a member of the NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Time Team.
“It is an honor to be associated with this award and follow the exceptional athletes that are on this watch list,” said Julius Erving, a 1993 inductee of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. “These student-athletes truly represent the best in the college game and I am eager to see what they will achieve in the 2017-18 season and beyond.”
By mid-February, the watch list of 20 players for the 2018 Julius Erving Small Forward of the Year Award will be narrowed to just 10. In March, five finalists will be presented to Mr. Erving and the Hall of Fame’s selection committee. The winner of the 2018 Julius Erving Award will be presented at the ESPN College Basketball Awards Show presented by Wendy’s in Los Angeles, CA on Friday, April 6, 2018. Broadcast information will be released at a later date.
Previous winners of the Julius Erving Small Forward of the Year Award include Josh Hart, Villanova (2017), Denzel Valentine, Michigan State (2016) and Stanley Johnson, Arizona (2015). For more information on the 2018 Julius Erving Award, log onto www.HoophallAwards.com.
2018 Julius Erving Small Forward of the Year Award Candidates
Rawle Alkins, Arizona
Kelan Martin, Butler
Jacob Evans, Cincinnati
Gary Trent Jr., Duke
Zach Norvell Jr., Gonzaga
Kevin Knox, Kentucky
Deng Adel, Louisville
Justin Jackson, Maryland
Bruce Brown Jr., Miami
Miles Bridges, Michigan St.
Tyler Hall, Montana St
Jeffrey Carroll, Oklahoma St.
Troy Brown Jr., Oregon
Vincent Edwards, Purdue
De’Monte Buckingham, Richmond
DJ Hogg, Texas A&M
Kris Wilkes, UCLA
Mikal Bridges, Villanova
Markis McDuffie, Wichita St.
Trevon Bluiett, Xavier
*Players can play their way onto and off of the list at any point in the 2017-18 season*