Jackson Selected as Candidate for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State men’s basketball freshman Jaren Jackson Jr. was one of 10 players selected as a candidate for the 2018 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 fourth year recognizes the top centers in men’s college basketball. A national committee comprised of top college basketball personnel determined the watch list of 20 candidates in October, which has now been narrowed to just 10.
“Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has a mindful and spirited approach to the game, which put him in a class of his own at both the collegiate and professional level,” said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame. “As one of the most accomplished centers of all-time, his insights will be highly valued as we consider this list of ten candidates.”
Jackson, who has been named the Big Ten Conference Freshman of the Week four times this season, is fifth on the team in scoring (11.3 ppg), third in rebounding (6.2 rpg) and leads the team with 3.5 blocked shots per game. He is also tied for ninth in the Big Ten in 3-point field goal percentage (44.1 percent) and tied for 15th in free throw percentage (79.1 percent).
The 6-11 freshman has been a force on the defensive end, where he leads the Big Ten and ranks No. 3 nationally in blocked shots. He tied the single-game record at MSU with eight blocks against Rutgers on Dec. 5 and when he blocked four shots against Wisconsin on Jan. 26, he broke the single-season record of 71, set by Ken Johnson in 1984-85.
Jackson now has 91 blocked shots this season, 43.8 percent of the team’s total (91-of-208). Behind Jackson, the Spartans have blocked 208 shots, setting a new single-season team record, breaking the mark of 177 set in 2015-16 (in 35 games).
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). Abdul-Jabbar is a six-time NBA Champion and a1995 inductee of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
In March, five finalists will be presented to Mr. Abdul-Jabbar and the Hall of Fame’s selection committee for the 2018 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award. The winner will be honored at ESPN’s College Basketball Awards presented by Wendy’s in downtown Los Angeles on Friday, April 6, 2018. Additional awards being presented include the Bob Cousy Point Guard Award, the Jerry West Shooting Guard Award, the Julius Erving Small Forward Award and the Karl Malone Power Forward Award. Broadcast information will be released at a later date.
Previous winners of the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award include Przemek Karnowski, Gonzaga (2017), Jakob Poeltl, Utah (2016) and Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin (2015). For more information on the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award, visit www.HoophallAwards.com.