Duke freshman sensation Zion Willamson headlines the list of four finalists vying for the honor of the Citizen Naismith Trophy, recognizing the most outstanding men’s college basketball player.
The finalists include juniors Rui Hachimura (Gonzaga) and Grant Williams (Tennessee) and sophomore Ja Morant (Murray State).Williamson is bidding to become just the second college freshman to win the Naismith Trophy and go on to be the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft after Kentucky’s Anthony Davis. The only other freshman to win it was Kevin Durant, who was the No. 2 pick.
Three of the finalists—Hachimura, Morant and Williams—would be the first from their schools to win the men’s Citizen Naismith Trophy, and Williamson would be the eighth player from Duke—more than any other men’s program—to bring home the award. The most recent Blue Devil winner was J.J. Reddick in 2006.
Hachimura and Williams would join 10 juniors who have won the award, including last season’s winner of the 50th Citizen Naismith Trophy, Villanova’s Jalen Brunson. Morant looks to be the 10th sophomore to win the trophy and would become the first representative from the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) to win a collegiate Naismith Award.
By visiting naismithtrophy.com/vote, from March 22-April 3, fans will be able to cast their ballot for their favorite finalist. For the first time ever, fans may also vote on the @MarchMadness Twitter page on March 22 and March 27, to select one of the finalists. The fan vote will account for five percent of the overall vote. The 2019 Citizen Naismith Trophy will be awarded at the Naismith Awards Brunch presented by Mortenson on April 7, during the Final Four in Minneapolis. The Naismith Awards Brunch will be simulcast on SiriusXM channel 84.Follow Adam Zagoria on Twitter And Like ZAGS on Facebook