Tuesday, April 07, 2020

Top Players in Each Position Recognized on ESPN’s SportsCenter


Bristol, CT – Today on ESPN’s SportsCenter, the Basketball Hall of Fame revealed this year’s five positional award winners, also known as the Naismith Starting Five.

In addition to the esteemed Bob Cousy Point Guard Award which has been presented since 2004, the Basketball Hall of Fame established four additional awards in the 2014-15 season: include the Jerry West Shooting Guard Award, the Julius Erving Small Forward Award, the Karl Malone Power Forward Award and the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center Award. Each award’s namesake headed his own selection committee to evaluate candidates throughout the 2019-20 season. Fans also had the opportunity to weigh-in throughout the season with Starting Five Fan Voting Presented by Dell Technologies.

"The Basketball Hall of Fame is proud to celebrate the best in the game, men and women at every level,” said John Doleva, President of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. “While we share in the sentiment that we would have loved to see these student-athletes playout the 2019-20 season, we are proud to honor them for their accomplishments and present them with awards that will eternally tie them to the greats of the game.”


2020 Men’s Naismith Starting Five:

Payton Pritchard (Oregon)– Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award

            20.5 pts/gm, 5.5 ast/gm, 82.1 ft%,

Myles Powell (Seton Hall)– Jerry West Shooting Guard of the Year Award

            21 pts/gm, 4.3 reb/gm, 2.9 ast/gm

Saddiq Bey (Villanova)–Julius Erving Small Forward of the Year Award

            16.1 pts/gm, 4.7 reb/gm, 2.4 ast/gm, 45.1 3pt%

Obi Toppin (Dayton)–Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year Award

            20.0 pts/gm, 7.5 reb/gm, 2.2 ast/gm, 63.3 fg%

Luka Garza (Iowa) – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year

            23.9 pts/gm, 9.8 reb/gm, 1.8 blk/gm


A complete list of finalists can be found below. For more information, visit www.HoophallAwards.com or follow @hoophall on Instagram and Twitter.


Quotes from Hall of Famers on Naismith Starting Five Award Winners

“Payton Pritchard was the ultimate point guard this season, knowing when to make the pass and when to score. He led the outstanding Pac-12 Conference in passing and assists and always seemed to deliver when his team needed him most. Congrats to Payton on a tremendous season and collegiate career!” – Bob Cousy, Class of 1971

“Myles Powell was arguably the best scorer in college hoops this year. He didn’t shy away from the big moments, always willing to put up the critical shots and bringing an unparalleled level of energy to his team every game. Myles and his Seton Hall teammates were a pleasure to watch this season.” – Jerry West, Class of 1993

“As a sophomore, Saddiq Bey was an all-around competitor delivering buckets and consistency when Villanova needed it most. To come into a well-established program and find your place as an underclassman is no easy task, and it’s clear Saddiq earned the respect of his teammates and competition. I’m proud to honor Saddiq with the 2020 Julius Erving Award.” –Julius Erving, Class of 1993

“I genuinely respect Obi Toppin and the work he has put in to achieve the results we all saw this season. I enjoy watching college basketball because the athletes give their all and take no possessions off – Obi is a perfect example of that. With his work ethic and athleticism, I’m excited to see him continue to further his game.” – Karl Malone, Class of 2010

“Luka Garza is a very intelligent player and it shows in his efficiency with the ball. To have twenty-five games with twenty points or more is no easy task and it proves the level of effort and focus he sustained throughout the season. Congratulations to Luka on this award and a remarkable junior year.” – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Class of 1995


Quotes from Men’s Naismith Starting Five Award Winners

“It means a lot to win this award, to see all the hard work and hours spent in the gym pay off. You don't get awards like these without winning and that takes a team effort. I want to thank my coaches and teammates for believing in me to lead our team and my parents who sacrificed so much in their lives for me to have moments like these. The point guards who won this award before me are some unbelievable players and it is a great honor to be in their company as a Bob Cousy Award recipient.” – Payton Pritchard, Bob Cousy Award Winner

“I am truly honored to be the 2020 Jerry West Award winner. To have my name next to one of the greatest basketball players of all time is a blessing. Thank you to Mr. West and the award committee for selecting me. I’ll treasure this honor forever.” – Myles Powell, Jerry West Award Winner

“This is an honor. To see the past players who have won this award and to know that it’s named after one of the all-time greats, Julius Erving, is humbling. It’s a blessing, to be sure. Without my teammates and coaches, something like this would not have been possible. Together we just focused each day on playing for each other and tried to get better. This is for my team and I’m just happy to be a part of the brotherhood we share.” – Saddiq Bey, Julius Erving Award Winner

“I’m very honored to be named this year’s Karl Malone Award winner.  When I was a senior in high school, I didn’t have any Division I offers, so to have my name mentioned next to one of the very best to play the game is amazing to me. I would like to thank Mr. Malone, the Basketball Hall of Fame, the selection committee and everyone who voted for me. This award would not be possible without my coaches, my teammates and my family.  They are the reason I am the person and player I am today, because they pushed me and supported me every step of the way.  I’m very happy and proud to represent the University of Dayton with this great award.” – Obi Toppin, Karl Malone Award Winner

“I have looked up to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar my entire life. To win an award in his name is a tremendous honor and one that I share with my family. I am incredibly grateful to have the coaching staff, group of teammates, and my family, which put me in position to win this award. Lastly, I’d like to thank the loyal support of Hawkeye Nation!” – Luka Garza, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award Winner


2020 Men’s Naismith Starting Five Finalists


2020 Bob Cousy Award Finalists

Tre Jones (Duke)

Devon Dotson (Kansas)

Markus Howard (Marquette)

Payton Pritchard (Oregon)

Malachi Flynn (San Diego State


2020 Jerry West Award Finalists

Mason Jones (Arkansas)

Kamar Baldwin (Butler)

Ty-Shon Alexander (Creighton)

Anthony Edwards (Georgia)

Myles Powell (Seton Hall)


2020 Julius Erving Award Finalists

Corey Kispert (Gonzaga)

Jordan Nwora (Louisville)

Precious Achiuwa (Memphis)

Saddiq Bey (Villanova)

Naji Marshall (Xavier)


2020 Karl Malone Award Finalists

Yoeli Childs (BYU)

Obi Toppin (Dayton)

Killian Tillie (Gonzaga)

Jalen Smith (Maryland)

Reggie Perry (Mississippi State)


2020 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award Finalists

Vernon Carey Jr. (Duke)

Filip Petrusev (Gonzaga)

Luka Garza (Iowa)

Udoka Azubuike (Kansas)

Nathan Knight (William & Mary)


About the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame:

Located in Springfield, Massachusetts, the city where basketball was born, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is an independent non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting, preserving and celebrating the game of basketball at every level – men and women, amateur and professional players, coaches and contributors, both domestically and internationally. The Hall of Fame museum is home to more than 400 inductees and over 40,000 square feet of basketball history. Nearly 200,000 people visit the Hall of Fame museum each year to learn about the game, experience the interactive exhibits and test their skills on the Jerry Colangelo "Court of Dreams." Best known for its annual marquee Enshrinement Ceremony honoring the game’s elite, the Hall of Fame also operates over 70 high school and collegiate competitions annually throughout the country and abroad. For more information on the Basketball Hall of Fame organization, its museum and events, visit www.hoophall.com, follow @hoophall or call 1-877-4HOOPLA.