McDermott on watch list

ATLANTA, Ga. -- Creighton junior Doug McDermott, who was named a finalist for the award last season, and Indiana sophomore Cody Zeller highlight the 2012-2013 Naismith early season watch list, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced today. McDermott will look to build on a strong sophomore performance, while Zeller enters the season at the helm for the No. 1 preseason-ranked Hoosiers.

The 50-player watch list was compiled by the Atlanta Tipoff Club's Board of Selectors, which based its criteria on player performances from the previous year and expectations for the 2012-2013 college basketball season. The Naismith Men's College Player of the Year presented by AT&T will be awarded on April 7, 2013 in Atlanta.

"This is a terrific time of year, filled with hope and optimism among players, coaches and fans," said Eric Oberman, executive director of the Atlanta Tipoff Club. "We look forward to seeing all the student-athletes display their talents on the court and showcase themselves as viable Naismith Trophy candidates."

In late February, the Atlanta Tipoff Club's Board of Selectors will compile a mid-season team of the top 30 players in the nation. Then in March, the Naismith Trophy voting academy will narrow the list to the four finalists.

Other notable Naismith Men's College Player of the Year alumni include two three-time winners in Bill Walton and Ralph Sampson, Michael Jordan, Kevin Durant and last year's winner, Anthony Davis of Kentucky. The Naismith Men's College Player of the Year presented by AT&T is the most prestigious national award presented annually to college basketball's best player.

McDermott averaged 22.9 points and 8.2 rebounds per game last season, after which he became Creighton's first consensus First Team All-American. He's been tabbed Preseason MVC Player of the Year for the league favorite Bluejays, who tied a school-record with 29 wins last year.

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