Tuesday, April 04, 2023

Houston  – Over the weekend, on ESPN’s College GameDay coverage of the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Final Four in Texas, the Basketball Hall of Fame revealed this year’s positional award winners which recognizes the preeminent college basketball player at each position, also known as the Naismith Starting Five. The winners were determined by a combination of input from committees composed of top basketball personnel and Starting Five Fan Voting, presented by Dell Technologies.


The Hall of Fame selection committees that included media members, coaches, sports information directors and Hall of Famers determined the preseason watch list of 20 candidates in October, which was narrowed to 10 candidates in February and five candidates in mid-March before determining the winner.  All season long players were able to play their way into award consideration. 


"The Basketball Hall of Fame is honored to celebrate the best men and women in the game across all levels," said John L. Doleva, President of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. "The student-athletes honored with our Starting Five Awards embody the Hall of Famers who the awards are named for, both in their skills on the court and the character they exhibit. We are proud to recognize this deserving class of individuals and have no doubt that they will continue to excel wherever they go. Today, we celebrate their achievements and recognize them as the Men's and Women's 2023 Naismith Starting Five.”


2023 Men’s Naismith Starting Five:

Markquis Nowell (Kansas State) – Bob Cousy (Point Guard) Award

Marcus Sasser (Houston) – Jerry West (Shooting Guard) Award

Jalen Wilson (Kansas) – Julius Erving (Small Forward) Award

Trayce Jackson-Davis (Indiana) – Karl Malone (Power Forward) Award

Zach Edey (Purdue) – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Center) Award


2023 Women’s Naismith Starting Five:

Caitlin Clark (Iowa) – Nancy Lieberman (Point Guard) Award (Two-time winner)

Zia Cooke (South Carolina) – Anne Meyers Drysdale (Shooting Guard) Award

Ashley Joens (Iowa State) – Cheryl Miller (Small Forward) Award (Three-time winner)

Maddy Siegrist (Villanova) – Katrina McClain (Power Forward) Award

Aliyah Boston (South Carolina) – Lisa Leslie (Center) Award (Four-time winner)


Quotes from Men’s Naismith Starting Five Award Winners

“I’m honored to receive the Bob Cousy Award as the nation’s top point guard. To be mentioned among the best players in the country at my position is truly a blessing. I want to give all the honor and glory to God for giving me the platform to showcase my talents and gifts this season.  I’m not here without his grace.  I can’t thank my teammates and coaches enough for all their hard work and sacrifice.  It all started with Ish (Massoud) and I, and Coach (Jerome) Tang and his staff were able to build a team around us and we became like brothers. We had a great year that I will always remember. I also want to thank my family for their sacrifice in helping me become the player and man I am today. Finally, a special shout out to K-State Nation for all their love and support during my career”. – Markquis Nowell, Bob Cousy Award Winner (#CousyAward) 

"I am honored to receive the 2023 Jerry West Award. Through dedication, sacrifice and hard work, anything is possible. I will always be grateful for my time in Houston with my teammates, my coaches, and Coach Sampson. I couldn't have done it without them." – Marcus Sasser, Jerry West Award Winner (#WestAward)

 “I am very honored to receive this award. Julius Erving is one of the greatest players of all time. I want to congratulate the other finalists on having great seasons. I want to thank Coach Self and the other coaches helping me become the player I am today. More importantly, I want to thank my teammates, my brothers, who pushed me every day. Though we did not achieve our ultimate goal, we did have a great season, winning the Big 12 in the toughest conference in the nation. Playing at Kansas is a blessing and winning this award represents KU as much as me.” – Jalen Wilson, Julius Erving Award Winner (#ErvingAward)

“I could not be more excited to receive this year’s Karl Malone Award.  This is something I share with our coaches and staff, my teammates, family, and all of Hoosier Nation. Thank you to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame for this honor.” – Trayce Jackson-Davis, Karl Malone Award Winner (#MaloneAward) 

“I would like to thank the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame for this prestigious award. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was the greatest center of all time, so to have my name associated with his is an incredible honor. Some of the best centers in college basketball history have won this award, and I am so humbled to join them”. – Zach Edey, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award Winner (#KareemAward)


Quotes from Women’s Naismith Starting Five Award Winners

“It’s a huge honor to win the Nancy Lieberman award. I’m so thankful I chose to come the University of Iowa because of the exciting style of basketball that Lisa Bluder instills in us. My teammates deserve a lot of credit too!” – Caitlin Clark, Nancy Lieberman Award Winner (#LiebermanAward)

“I am so thankful to win the Ann Meyers Drysdale Award this season. I’ve been fighting for so long to get to this place with my game, trusting the process of becoming a more complete, consistent player. I have to thank my coaches for helping me understand that everyone’s journey is different, and that if I just I embraced my path and found beauty in my struggle, I could find success with my team and for myself. That’s what this award represents for me, and I hope it can be that for other players who may be in the heart of their struggle, too.” – Zia Cooke, Ann Meyers Drysdale Award Winner (#MeyersAward)

“Winning this award once is an honor, but to be able to win it three times now has been a blessing. Having my name associated with Cheryl Miller as the best small forward in the country is the biggest honor I could receive. Cheryl Miller is an amazing person and phenomenal player, and I am privileged to have my name beside hers.” – Ashley Joens, Cheryl Miller Award Winner (#MillerAward)

“The contributions that Katrina McClain made to women’s basketball along with her amazing career accomplishments make winning this award so special. It is a great honor even to be nominated for the award that bears her name. Each of the other finalists this year had outstanding seasons and I am incredibly humbled to have been chosen as the winner. This award means a great deal to me, and I will continue trying to live up to its name.” – Maddy Siegrist, Katrina McClain Award (#McClain)

 “It was a blessing to win this award my freshman year, and I remember Lisa Leslie telling me not to let it be a reason to stop building my game. I’m so glad that, with God’s help, I never let her down on that and have been able to continue playing at a high level. I’m thankful to my coaches and teammates, who have helped put me in this position as well.” – Aliyah Boston, Lisa Leslie Award Winner (#LeslieAward)


For more information, visit HoophallAwards.com or follow @hoophallU on Instagram and Twitter.