NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. - Iona College superstar guard A.J. English has been nominated for one of the nation’s top collegiate basketball honors, named after the very man whose silhouette became face of the National Basketball League.
Amid his best season for the Gaels, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of has announced that English has been named one of 10 watchlist finalists for this year’s 2016 Jerry West Shooting Guard of the Year Award.
English, a senior averaging 22.3 points per game - good for 10th in the nation and tops in the MAAC - was initially named to the watchlist with 19 other outstanding guards in October, before the field was cut in half this week. In March, five finalists will be presented to the Hall of Famer, and the Hall of Fame’s Selection Committee, who will then select the athlete they determine most worthy.
English, who has produced two of the three highest single-game scoring efforts in America this season, was a unanimous, All-Conference Player of the Year and was named to the Hall of Fame’s preseason watch list. He joins former forward David Laury, who was a candidate for the Karl Malone Award for the nation’s top power forward a year ago under head coach Tim Cluess.
The Iona senior is joined by some of the nation’s top backcourt college prospects, including Grayson Allen in Duke, Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield, Josh Hart in Villanova and Julian Jacobs out of USC. Other candidates include Malcolm Hill (Illinois), Sheldon McClellan (Miami), Caris LeVert (Michigan), Jalen Jones (Texas A&M) and Malcolm Brogdon (Virginia.)
In a statement, John Doleva, the president and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame, praised the finalists for their accomplishments on and off the court.
“Jerry West is a basketball icon,” he stated. “As one of the best jump shooters to play the game, Jerry West’s drive for perfection is what set him apart. It’s that type of drive that will be required to take home this year’s award in the highly competitive field.”
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