Kansas senior Jeff Withey and freshman Ben McLemore have been named to the 2012-13 Naismith early season watch list, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced Tuesday.
The 50-player 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 2012-2013 college basketball season. The Naismith Men's College Player of the Year presented by AT&T will be awarded on April 7, 2013 in Atlanta.
Withey continues to pile up preseason accolades. Last week the 7-foot center from San Diego was named to the Wooden preseason top 50 with senior teammate Elijah Johnson. Withey has also been selected Associated Press Preseason All-America Honorable Mention, is a candidate for the Senior CLASS Award and was voted onto the All-Big 12 preseason team by the conference coaches.
In his first game of the 2012-13 season, Withey recorded his seventh career double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds to go along with five blocked shots in KU's 74-55 win against Southeast Missouri State on Nov. 9. Withey was the 2012 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and an all-conference third-team selection, who set the Kansas and Big 12 single-season blocked shots record with 140 last season. Included in his 140 blocked shots were an NCAA Tournament record 31 in KU's run to the NCAA National Championship title game and a conference games-only record of 65. Withey averaged 9.0 points and 6.3 rebounds for Kansas last season and shot a team-best 79.5 percent from the free throw line.
McLemore's Naismith listing is the first preseason accolade for the 6-foot-5 St. Louis guard. In KU's season opener against Southeast Missouri State, McLemore just missed a double-double with nine points and 12 rebounds. He led KU with five assists and also had three blocked shots and one steal. McLemore was a 2011-12 five-star recruit who was ranked No. 17 nationally following high school. He was declared a partial qualifier by the NCAA and could not compete in games for the 2011-12 season. He was able to practice with the KU team following fall 2011 semester and is a member of the Athletic Director's and Big 12 Commissioner's academic honor rolls.
In late February, the Atlanta Tipoff Club's Board of Selectors will compile a mid-season team of the top 30 players in the nation. Then in March, the Naismith Trophy voting academy will narrow the list to the four finalists.
For more information and to view the entire preseason Naismith list, visit Naismithawards.com