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Reigning Naismith Trophy Winner Tyler Hansbrough Headlines 2008-09 EarlySeason Watch List
Big East Conference Leads The Way With 11 Players

ATLANTA (Dec. 18, 2008) – University of North Carolina forward Tyler Hansbrough takes aim at becoming just the third repeat winner in the 40-year history of the Naismith Trophy as he headlines the 2008-09 early season watch list, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced today.  Hansbrough, the third Tar Heel and 16th recipient from the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) to win the Naismith Trophy, would join UCLA’s Bill Walton (1972, 73, 74) and Virginia’s Ralph Sampson (1981, 82, 83) as the only multiple winners of the award, if he repeats again this year.  The 6-9 senior from Poplar Bluff, Mo., is joined by teammates Wayne Ellington and Ty Lawson on the list.

The Big East Conference placed 11 candidates on the watch list, followed by the ACC with seven.  The Southeastern Conference (SEC) and Pacific 10 (PAC-10) each placed six.

The 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 2008-09 college basketball season. The watch list does not include incoming freshmen, although those student-athletes will be considered in the first vote in February, 2009.   The Naismith Trophy presented by AT&T will be awarded at the 2009 NCAA Men’s Final Four in Detroit, Mich.

“The talent level across all conferences continues to impress, and that will create an even greater challenge for our voting academy when it comes time to select the winner in April,” said Gary Stokan, Atlanta Tipoff Club president.  “And we look forward to this special season, our 40th anniversary of the most prestigious trophy in all of college basketball.”

For the sixth consecutive season, presenting sponsor AT&T will once again set the standard in allowing fans to participate in determining this year’s winner. Through the power and ease of text messaging, fan voting will account for an unprecedented 25% of the final results – more than any other national college basketball award.  At the beginning of February, CBS’ “AT&T at the Half” will feature a weekly Naismith Trophy update highlighting the players in contention. 
In February, the Naismith Trophy voting academy, comprised of leading basketball journalists, coaches and administrators from around the country, will narrow its early season list to the Top 30 players in the nation. Those players, and others who distinguish themselves throughout the season, will be eligible for the final ballot in March. 

Other notable Naismith Men’s College Player of the Year winners include Bill Walton, Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, Patrick Ewing and David Robinson. The Naismith Trophy is the most prestigious national award presented annually to college basketball’s player of the year.

2008-09 Naismith Trophy Early Season Watch List:

Last

First

Class

Position

School

Abrams

A.J.

Sr.

Guard

Texas 

Adrien

Jeff

Sr.

Forward

Connecticut

Akognon

Josh

Sr.

Guard

Cal. St. Fullerton

Blair

DeJuan

So.

Forward

Pittsburgh

Brockman

Jon

Sr.

Forward

Washington

Brown

Derrick

Jr.

Forward

Xavier

Budinger

Chase

Jr.

Forward

Arizona

Calathes

Nick

So.

Guard/Forward

Florida

Clark

Earl

Jr.

Guard/Forward

Louisville

Collins

Sherron

Jr.

Guard

Kansas

Collison

Darren

Sr.

Guard

UCLA

Cummard

Lee

Sr.

Guard

Brigham Young

Curry

Stephen

Jr.

Guard

Davidson

Downey

Devan

Jr.

Guard

South Carolina

Dozier

Robert

Sr.

Forward

Memphis

Ellington

Wayne

Jr.

Guard

North Carolina

Gibson

Taj

Jr.

Forward

Southern California

Griffin

Blake

So.

Forward

Oklahoma

Hansbrough

Tyler

Sr.

Forward

North Carolina

Harangody

Luke

Jr.

Forward

Notre Dame

Harden

James

So.

Guard

Arizona State

Henderson

Gerald

Jr.

Guard/Forward

Duke

Heytvelt

Josh

Sr.

Forward

Gonzaga

Hudson

Lester

Sr.

Guard

University of Tennessee-Martin

Hummel

Robbie

So.

Forward

Purdue

James

Dominic

Sr.

Guard

Marquette

James

Damion

Jr.

Guard/Forward

Texas 

Jerrells

Curtis

Sr.

Guard

Baylor

Lawal

Gani

So.

Forward

Georgia Tech

Lawson

Ty

Jr.

Guard

North Carolina

Maynor

Eric

Sr.

Guard

Virginia Commonwealth

Mayo

Josh

Sr.

Guard

Illinois-Chicago

McAlarney

Kyle

Sr.

Guard

Notre Dame

McClinton

Jack

Sr.

Guard

Miami

McNeal

Jerel

Sr.

Guard

Marquette

Mills

Patrick

So.

Guard

Saint Mary's

Moore

E'Twaun

So.

Guard

Purdue

Morgan

Raymar

Jr.

Forward

Michigan State

Ogilvy

A.J.

So.

Center

Vanderbilt

Pargo

Jeremy

Sr.

Guard

Gonzaga

Patterson

Patrick

So.

Forward

Kentucky

Price

A.J.

Sr.

Guard

Connecticut

Reynolds

Scottie

Jr.

Guard

Villanova

Rice

Tyrese

Sr.

Guard

Boston College

Smith

Tyler

Jr.

Forward

Tennessee

Steele

Ronald

Sr.

Guard

Alabama

Thabeet

Hasheem

Jr.

Center

Connecticut

Vaden

Robert

Sr.

Guard/Forward

Alabama-Birmingham

Wilkinson

Gary

Sr.

Forward

Utah State

Young

Sam

Sr.

Forward

Pittsburgh


ABOUT THE ATLANTA TIPOFF CLUB
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 in 1956, has presented the Naismith Trophy 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 an emblem of excellence for the game, 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.

ABOUT AT&T
AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) is a premier communications holding company. Its subsidiaries and affiliates, AT&T operating companies, are the providers of AT&T services in the United States and around the world. Among their offerings are the world's most advanced IP-based business communications services and the nation's leading wireless, high speed Internet access and voice services. In domestic markets, AT&T is known for the directory publishing and advertising sales leadership of its Yellow Pages and YELLOWPAGES.COM organizations, and the AT&T brand is licensed to innovators in such fields as communications equipment. As part of its three-screen integration strategy, AT&T is expanding its TV entertainment offerings. Additional information about AT&T Inc. and the products and services provided by AT&T subsidiaries and affiliates is available at www.att.com.

© 2008 Intellectual Property. All rights reserved. AT&T, the AT&T logo and all other marks contained herein are trademarks of AT&T Intellectual Property and/or AT&T affiliated companies.

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Eric Oberman
Atlanta Tipoff Club
(404) 586-8506
eoberman@macoc.com

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