Fifteen Candidates Announced for First-Ever Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award

Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was the very first recipient of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Award in 1969.


Top Collegiate Centers in the Nation Named to Watch List

SPRINGFIELD, MASS. – The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced today the fifteen watch list members for the 2015 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award.  Named after Hall of Famer and three-time NCAA Champion Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the annual honor in its inaugural year recognizes the top centers in men’s college basketball.  The watch list of 15 candidates was determined by a national committee comprised of top college basketball personnel.

“For many years the Basketball Hall of Fame has recognized the top collegiate point guards in the nation with the Bob Cousy Award. We are excited to expand upon these awards by now recognizing the top players at each position,” said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame.  “When it comes to collegiate centers, none have accomplished more than Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and we are pleased to include him in this celebration of the best in the game today.”

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar played for legendary coach John Wooden at the University of California, Los Angeles from 1966-1969. He is a three-time NCAA Champion who earned numerous accolades including three-time Final Four Most Outstanding Player, three-time National College Player of the Year and three-time Consensus First-Team All-American (1967-1969).

“It’s truly an honor for this award to bear my name,” said Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, a 1995 inductee of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and six-time NBA Champion.  “The fifteen athletes on this list represent the most dedicated, determined and skillful centers in college basketball today and I wish them well as they head into March.”

By early March, the current list of 15 finalists for the 2015 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award will be narrowed down to five players.  The final five players in contention for the award will be presented to Mr. Abdul-Jabbar and the Hall of Fame’s selection committee.  The winner of the 2015 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award will be presented at ESPN’s new College Basketball Awards presented by Wendy’s from Club Nokia in Los Angeles, CA on Friday, April 10, 2015. The Awards will be televised live on ESPN2 at 8:00pm EST.

For more information on the 2015 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award, log onto

2015 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award Candidates

Bobby Portis, University of Arkansas

Alan Williams, University of California, Santa Barbara

Josh Scott, University of Colorado

Jahlil Okafor, Duke University

Joshua Smith, Georgetown University

Willie Cauley-Stein, University of Kentucky

Jarell Martin, Louisiana State University

Kennedy Meeks, University of North Carolina

Brad Waldow, Saint Mary’s College

Stefan Nastic, Stanford University

Rakeem Christmas, Syracuse University

Jakob Poeltl, University of Utah

Damian Jones, Vanderbilt University

Daniel Ochefu, Villanova University

Frank Kaminsky, University of Wisconsin

About the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame: 

Located in Springfield, Massachusetts, the city where basketball was invented, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame promotes and preserves the game of basketball at every level – professional, collegiate and high school, for both men and women on the global stage.

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