The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame today announced Duke freshman Paolo Banchero as one of five finalists for the 2022 Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year Award.
Named after Class of 2010 Hall of Famer and two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Karl Malone, the annual honor in its eighth year recognizes the top power forwards in Division I men’s college basketball. A national committee of top college basketball personnel determined the watch list of 20 candidates in November, which was narrowed to 10 in late January and now just five finalists.
Among all true freshmen nationally, Banchero currently ranks second in scoring (16.9), third in rebounding (7.8) and fourth in field goal percentage (.465). He has logged eight double-doubles and 11 games of 20+ points – each ranking second among power conference true freshmen. The six-time ACC Freshman of the Week has the fifth-highest scoring average (17.1) and is second in rebounding (8.2) in conference-only games.
Banchero has also found his stroke from long range this past week, as he followed up a career-high 4-of-7 three-point performance at Syracuse last Saturday with a perfect 3-of-3 clip from deep at Pittsburgh on Tuesday.
The Seattle, Wash., native is seeking to become the second Blue Devil to win the Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year Award, as Zion Williamson claimed the honor in 2019. Banchero was named a finalist for this year’s award alongside Chet Holmgren (Gonzaga), EJ Liddell (Ohio State), Keegan Murray (Iowa) and Jabari Smith (Auburn).
The five finalists will be presented this month to Mr. Malone and the Basketball Hall of Fame’s selection committee. The winner of the award will be determined by a combination of fan votes and input from the selection committee, with the announcement of the winner on a to-be-determined date. Naismith Starting Five Fan Voting presented by Dell Technologies will go live on Friday, March 4 on hoophallawards.com.
For more information on the 2022 Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year Award and the latest updates, log onto www.hoophallawards.com and follow @hoophall and #MaloneAward on Twitter and Instagram.