Blog Entry

Update on Naismith 50 Preseason Watch List

Posted on: October 12, 2009 3:25 pm
Edited on: October 12, 2009 3:28 pm

There are six of us on the Board of Selectors for the Naismith Award, and we all turned in our ballots for the 50 Preseason Watch List last Friday. (You can see my ballot here ). Turns out, we agreed on 29 of the 50. So those 29 will be on the official 50 Preseason Watch List that will be unveiled soon.

Seven more players appeared on five of the six ballots. So they were added to the list, too. And then five more players appeared on four of the six ballots. So they were added to the list, too.

That means 41 of the 50 are done.

That means the final nine have to be finalized.

There were 11 players who appeared on three of the six ballots. So what we are now being asked to do is trim that list of 11 to nine, and rank them from most-deserving to least-deserving.

The list of 11 we're working off looks like this:
  • Patrick Christopher (California)
  • Jerome Dyson (Connecticut)
  • Lazar Hayward (Marquette)
  • Xavier Henry (Kansas)
  • Wesley Johnson (Syracuse)
  • Jerome Jordan (Tulsa)
  • Sylven Landesberg (Virginia)
  • Gani Lawal (Georgia Tech)
  • Raymar Morgan (Michigan State)
  • A.J. Ogilvy (Vanderbilt)
  • Jarvis Varnado (Mississippi State)
Of those 11, five were on my initial ballot (Hayward, Henry, Johnson, Lawal, Varnado); I see no reason to eliminate them now. So what I'm really doing here is selecting four players from a list of Christopher, Dyson, Jordan, Landesberg, Morgan and Ogilvy.

Here's the list I'm filing:
  1. Jarvis Varnado (Mississippi State)
  2. Gani Lawal (Georgia Tech)
  3. Lazar Hayward (Marquette)
  4. Xavier Henry (Kansas)
  5. Wesley Johnson (Syracuse)
  6. Jerome Dyson (Connecticut)
  7. Raymar Morgan (Michigan State)
  8. Patrick Christopher (California)
  9. A.J. Ogilvy (Vanderbilt)
In other words, Landesberg and Jordan didn't make my cut.

I offer my condolences.

Since: Feb 8, 2007
Posted on: October 12, 2009 9:51 pm

Update on Naismith 50 Preseason Watch List

Among the things that don't impress me are big scorers on bad teams. That's not to say that's all Landesberg is; I know he's talented. But every team scores points, and somebody has to score them. So I'm not swayed by huge averages. I'm more partial to key players for good-to-great teams, in most cases.

Since: Mar 21, 2008
Posted on: October 12, 2009 7:26 pm

Update on Naismith 50 Preseason Watch List


I know how you dig those freshmen. At this point, I would say that Landesberg and Henry should be the one's excluded. Landesberg is likely to have better than the 16+ ppg he had last year, but on a team that is likely to have virtually no impact on the college scene. Jordan will probably be the best player on his team, he'll have a decent shot at winning Conf. USA player of the year, and TU is likely to at least compete for a NCAA tourney bid, and probably win Conf. USA.  Henry might be 2nd team All Big XII at the end of the year, but I'm thinking more likely 3rd team. So I would have kept Jordan, taken Landesberg off, and I don't think that Henry should be on it until he's done something in college, for the same kind of reasons that you excluded him from your 'impact' freshmen list.

But since you had Henry in, and don't want to take him out...Morgan average 10ppg and 5 rpg last year, and will probably see those numbers go up slightly without Suton, but that's if Morgan can stay healthy! So, I think that these two should have been on the cut line with one being in and one being out. Henry isn't likely to have much better numbers this year than Morgan had last year, but might be an important part of a big season for KU, even if his statistics might not have much of a WOW factor....

I think that all of the other players are likely to have better statistical numbers than Morgan and Henry, and Henry is likely to be no more than the 3rd best option on KU's team, maybe the 4th or 5th option behind Collins, Aldrich, Taylor, Mc. Morris. Morgan is likely to be the 2nd or 3rd best option on MSU's squad this year.

The other player I would have considered not including would have been Johnson, but he was on your original ballot too. It will be interesting to see how much impact Johnson will have at Syracuse. He averaged about 11 ppg at Iowa State, on a team that at the time wasn't going anywhere and wasn't competitive. Now, he'll be expected to contribute for a team that will need help to make the tourney and compete for an upper division finish in the BEAST. I'm not sure he'll do much better than he did at Iowa State, because he's going to receive more attention from defenses now.

But this is all sort of quibbling, because all of these guys will probably do good enough to warrant consideration as one of the top 50 players...and not everyone can be on the list. None of these guys at the bottom is very likely to make it on to the All American teams, and if they appear there, they will probably be only honorable mention. So it's not really very important which is left off, but it is a nice accolade to be one of those that make the list!

So, as a KU fan, thanks for giving X. Henry a little pub! At the beginning of the year, I would have had him just on the outside of this list, but I certainly have no problem with you including him!

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or