KU lands four on Naismith Hall of Fame preseason watch lists

(AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Four University of Kansas men’s basketball players have been named to various position-based preseason award watch lists, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced Tuesday. There are 20 NCAA Division I student-athletes listed per award.

KU forward Perry Ellis is on the Karl Malone Award Watch List for the nation’s top power forward, while Frank Mason III is on the Bob Cousy Award Watch List for the nation’s top point guard. The Jayhawk tandem of Wayne Selden Jr., and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk are on the Julius Erving Award Watch List for the top small forward in the country.

The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame oversees a total of five awards named after legendary hall-of-famers at each position – point guard (Cousy), shooting guard (Jerry West), small forward (Erving), power forward (Malone), and center (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar). The Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Watch List will be announced on Friday.

Each award will be narrowed down to 10 in mid-February and five finalists will be selected in March. The award winners will be named April 8, 2016, at ESPN College Basketball Awards Show.

One of five finalists for the inaugural Karl Malone Award last season, Ellis was the only player in the Big 12 to rank in the top seven in scoring (seventh at 13.8), field goal percentage (seventh at 45.7) and rebounding (fourth at 6.9) in 2014-15. A two-time Academic All-Big 12 honoree from Wichita, Kansas, Ellis is on pace to rank in the top 15 on Kansas’ career points and career rebounds and could become just the eighth Jayhawk to accomplish the feat.

Like the Karl Malone Award, this is the second year of the Julius Erving Award. Selden has started all 71 games played at Kansas and averaged 9.4 points last season. The Roxbury, Massachusetts guard led the Jayhawks with 46 three-pointers made and was second in assists with 95. His 2.6 assists per game 12th in the Big 12. This past summer, Selden was the second overall leading scorer at the World University Games with a 19.3 average in leading USA to the gold medal.

Mykhailiuk started six games last season for Kansas and averaged 11.2 minutes and 2.8 points per contest. A three-point threat when on the floor, 15 of the Cherkasy, Ukraine native’s 26 field goals made last season were from beyond the arc.

Mason, from Petersburg, Virginia, ranked ninth in the Big 12, second on the KU team, in scoring at 12.6 points per game and he was also among the league leaders in assists (fifth at 3.9), steals (ninth at 1.4), free throw percentage (ninth at 78.6) and assist-to-turnover ratio (fifth at 1.9). Like Selden, Mason was a main cog in the World University Games gold medal run as he averaged 14.5 points in the eight victories. The Bob Cousy Award began in 2004 and former KU men’s basketball players Russell Robinson, Sherron Collins and Tyshawn Taylor were each named finalists for the honor.

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