ATLANTA - Gonzaga University's Kelly Olynyk is one of the top 30 candidates for the 2013 Naismith Men's College Player of the Year Award presented by AT&T, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced Tuesday.
Olynyk is averaging 17.7 ppg, 7.0 rpg and 1.2 blocks/game for the 27-2 Bulldogs who are ranked second in the latest Associated Press and USA Today Top 25 polls. The native of Kamloops, British Columbia, has also helped the Bulldogs to a 14-0 West Coast Conference record with games Thursday at BYU and Saturday at home against the University of Portland wrapping up the regular season.
Gonzaga is assured the top seed in the upcoming WCC Tournament in Las Vegas.
The top 30 candidates were selected by the Atlanta Tipoff Club's Board of Selectors, which based its criteria on player performances to this point in the 2013 men's college basketball season. In late March, the Naismith Trophy voting academy will narrow down the list to four finalists. The Naismith Men's College Player of the Year presented by AT&T will be awarded on April 7, 2013 in Atlanta.
For the ninth consecutive year, fans will have the opportunity to text their votes for the player of their choice and help determine the 2013 Naismith Trophy winner. Voting will open to fans on Monday, March 25. Naismith Trophy presenting sponsor AT&T is making the voting open to other wireless carriers, enabling even more fans to participate.
"This season has re-defined excellence on the court, as numerous talented players have put themselves in a position to win the prestigious Naismith Trophy," said Shane Battier, spokesperson for the Naismith Awards and the only men's player to win both a high school (1997) and college (2001) Naismith Trophy. "I am excited to see which of these great players emerges down the stretch to win this award and become the newest member of the Naismith Awards family."
"For nearly a decade, AT&T has helped honor college basketball's elite and their amazing performances on the court," said Jamie Kerr, Director, AT&T Corporate Sponsorships. "AT&T enables fans to play a central role in the selection process while bringing them closer to their passion for college basketball. With such a competitive pool of student-athletes, next month's voting is sure to be close."
Other notable Naismith Trophy alumni include a pair of three-time winners in Bill Walton (1972, 73, 74) and Ralph Sampson (181, 82, 83), Michael Jordan (1984), Kevin Durant (2007) and last year's winner, Anthony Davis of Kentucky. The Naismith Trophy presented by AT&T is the most prestigious national award presented annually to college basketball's best player.
The Atlanta Tipoff Club, an Atlanta Sports Council property, is committed to promoting the game of basketball and recognizing the outstanding accomplishments of those who make the game so exciting. The Atlanta Tipoff Club, founded during the 1956-57 season, has presented the Naismith Trophy every year since UCLA's Lew Alcindor first won the award in 1969. Old Dominion's Anne Donovan won the inaugural Women's Naismith Trophy in 1983.
The Naismith Award has become the most prestigious award in all of college basketball, recognizing the Men's and Women's College Basketball Player of the Year, Men's and Women's College Basketball Coach of the Year, as well as awards for outstanding achievement in high school basketball, officiating, and contribution to the game.