Bolden, a 6-11, 246-pound sophomore from DeSoto, Texas, battled through injuries a season ago to play in 24 games as the Blue Devils went 28-9 and captured the ACC Tournament championship.
Named after Hall of Famer and three-time NCAA Champion Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the annual honor in its fourth year recognizes the top centers in men’s college basketball. A national committee comprised of top college basketball personnel determined the watch list of 20 candidates which includes Bolden, Dusan Ristic (Arizona), Austin Wiley (Auburn), Kingsley Okoroh (California), Tacko Fall (Central Florida), John Egnunu (Florida), Jessie Govan (Georgetown), Ben Lammers (Georgia Tech), Nick Richards (Kentucky), Omer Yurtseven (N.C. State), Isaac Haas (Purdue), Jock Landale (Saint Mary’s), Angel Delgado (Seton Hall), Michael Humphrey (Stanford), Vladimir Brodziansky (TCU), Mohamed Bamba (Texas), Tyler Davis (Texas A&M), Thomas Welsh (UCLA), Chimezie Metu (USC) and Ethan Happ (Wisconsin).
“Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s talent and accolades are unparalleled when it comes to centers in college basketball,” said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame. “With the legacy he built at UCLA and then as a professional, is it only fitting that we honor the top collegiate centers with an award bearing his name.”
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar played for legendary coach and Hall of Famer John Wooden at the University of California, Los Angeles from 1966-1969. He is a three-time NCAA Champion who earned numerous accolades including three-time Final Four Most Outstanding Player, three-time National College Player of the Year and three-time Consensus First-Team All-American (1967-1969).
“I would like to thank the Basketball Hall of Fame for the honor of being the namesake of this award,” said Abdul-Jabbar, a 1995 inductee of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and six-time NBA Champion. “The student-athletes on this recognized have worked tirelessly to earn their spot on this list and I look forward to seeing how their hard work will pay off this season.”
By mid-February, the watch list of 20 players for the 2018 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award will be narrowed down to just 10. In March, five finalists will be presented to Mr. Abdul-Jabbar and the Hall of Fame’s selection committee. The winner of the 2018 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 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 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award include Przemek Karnowski, Gonzaga (2017), Jakob Poeltl, Utah (2016) and Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin (2015). For more information on the 2018 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, log onto www.HoophallAwards.com.