SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – UK freshman PJ Washington and Eastern Kentucky University junior Nick Mayo (pictured) were two of 20 players named to the 2018 Karl Malone Award Watch List on Thursday, Oct. 19, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced. The award is given annually to the top power forward in NCAA Division I men’s college basketball.
For the third consecutive day, a Kentucky men’s basketball player has been added to a preseason watch list by the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame. In addition to Washington, freshman Hamidou Diallo was named to the preseason watch list for the Jerry West Award, which recognizes the country’s best shooting guard. Freshman Kevin Knox was announced Wednesday as one of 20 candidates for the 2018 Julius Erving Award, which is presented annually to the top small forward in the country.
A national committee comprised of top college basketball personnel determined the 20 candidates for the Karl Malone Award Watch List.
By mid-February, the watch list of 21 players will be narrowed to 10. In March, five finalists will be presented to the award’s namesake and the Hall of Fame selection committee. The winner of the 2018 Karl Malone Award will be presented at the ESPN College Basketball Awards Show in Los Angeles on April 6. Players do not have to be on the watch list to win the award until the five finalists are announced.
Washington is entering his rookie season at Kentucky rated as high as the No. 12 overall player in his class by ESPN. He was named to the All-USA Boys Basketball Second Team following a season in which he was a McDonald’s All-American and a Jordan Brand Classic participant. Additionally, he won most valuable player honors as the inaugural Allen Iverson Roundball Classic.
He started all five games and averaged 10.0 points and 4.0 rebounds for the gold-medal winning 2016 USA Men’s U18 National Team in Chile. He averaged a team-high 12.9 points per game and also added 5.1 rebounds per outing en route to a third-place finish at the 2017 FIBA U19 World Cup playing for Team USA under UK head coach John Calipari.
Mayo was voted first team All-OVC for the second straight year in 2016-17 after finishing the regular season ranked among the OVC’s leaders in scoring (18.5 points), rebounding (6.5 rebounds), assists, blocks, field goal percentage, three-point field goal percentage and free throw percentage. The 6-9 forward from Oakland, Maine is on pace to be EKU’s all-time leading scorer after he became the first Colonel ever to reach the 1,000-point plateau as a sophomore.
The Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook tabbed Mayo the Preseason OVC Player of the Year in late September.
The award’s namesake, Karl Malone, attended Louisiana Tech University due to its close proximity to his hometown of Summerfield, Louisiana. He led the Bulldogs to a Sweet 16 appearance and earned All-Southland honors in his three seasons while averaging 18.7 points and 9.3 rebounds per game. Malone achieved great success during his 19 seasons in the NBA as a 14-time NBA All-Star (1988-98, 2000-02), 11-time All-NBA First Team player (1989-99) and a member of the NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Time Team. He also won two Olympic gold medals (1992, 1996).
“With this award, we have been able to recognize some extraordinarily talented student-athletes in college basketball over the past three seasons,” said Karl Malone, a 2010 inductee of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. “It is an honor to be associated with such an award and I hope the young men named to this watch list feel a sense of pride in being recognized for their efforts.”
Previous winners of the Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year Award include Johnathan Motley, Baylor (2017), Georges Niang, Iowa State (2016) and Montrezl Harrell, Louisville (2015). For more information on the 2018 Karl Malone Award, log onto www.HoophallAwards.com.
2018 Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year Award Candidates
Nana Foulland, Bucknell
Gary Clark Jr., Cincinnati
Marvin Bagley III, Duke
Wendell Carter Jr.,Duke
Nick Mayo, Eastern Kentucky
Yante Maten, Georgia
Rokas Gustys, Hofstra
PJ Washington, Kentucky
Moritz Wagner, Michigan
Jordan Murphy, Minnesota
Alize Johnson, Missouri St.
Bonzie Colson, Notre Dame
Mike Daum, South Dakota St.
Reid Travis, Stanford
Obi Enechionyia, Temple
Dylan Osetkowski, Texas
Robert Williams, Texas A&M
Zach Smith, Texas Tech
William Lee, UAB
Bennie Boatwright, USC
*Players can play their way onto and off of the list at any point in the 2017-18 season
EKU Athletics Photo