Three University of Kentucky freshmen were among 50 basketball players named Thursday to the watch list for the 2017 Naismith Men’s College Player of the Year award.
Bam Adebayo, De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk were among 12 freshmen named to the preseason list. A midseason list of 30 will be announced Feb. 9.
Texas A&M sophomore center Tyler Davis and Arkansas senior forward Moses Kingsley were the only other Southeastern Conference players to make the list.
The ACC led with 12 selections followed by the Big Ten with 10.
Joining Kentucky’s trio as freshmen on the list were Texas forward Jarrett Allen, UCLA guard Lonzo Ball, Michigan State swingman Miles Bridges, Washington guard Markelle Fultz, Kansas guard Josh Jackson, Arizona forward Lauri Markkanen, North Carolina State guard Dennis Smith Jr. and Duke forwards Jayson Tatum and Harry Giles.
Adebayo led UK in rebounds with 10.0 per game during the Wildcats’ two exhibition games. He also averaged 11.0 points and 1.5 blocks and shot 71.4 percent from the floor.
Fox led UK in exhibition play with 18.5 points per game. He shot 66.7 percent from the floor, while also contributing 5.5 assists and 3.0 steals per game.
Monk averaged 15.0 points, 4.5 assists and 3.0 steals in UK’s two preseason games.
Kentucky begins its season Friday against Stephen F. Austin in Rupp Arena. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. and the game will air live on the SEC Network.