The preseason hype continued for the Vols’ men’s basketball team on Monday as two players were named to the Naismith Trophy Watch list. Senior Admiral Schofield and junior Grant Williams both named to the preseason watch list for the award, which honors the top player in all of college basketball annually. The two players are part of a 50-man list highlighting some of the best players in the country heading into the regular season.
PB+J land on the Naismith Trophy Watch List 🥜🍇
— Tennessee Basketball (@Vol_Hoops) November 5, 2018
Tennessee was one of 11 schools to have multiple players on the list, including Virginia, Villanova, Indiana, Nevada, Kansas State, Kentucky, Kansas, North Carolina, Gonzaga, and Duke. The Vols could potentially face 13 players named to the list during the regular season.
Williams is the reigning SEC Player of the Year, and he led the Vols in scoring last year with 15.2 points per game. He also averaged six rebounds a game. The talented forward was also voted the preseason SEC Player of the Year and won the fan vote for the March Madness preseason player of the year. He was a first-team All-SEC selection last season and this preseason as well.
Schofield is coming off a strong junior campaign and is expected to be a very important piece for the Vols once again this year. He averaged 13.9 points per game and led the team with 6.4 rebounds per game. He was the Vols’ catalyst down the stretch of the season, leading the team with 19 points per game over the final eight games of the year, including UT’s run in the SEC and NCAA Tournaments. Schofield was named to the preseason second team All-SEC team.
The list of players will be narrowed to 30 on Feb. 13, 2019, followed by the 10 semifinalists on March 4th and four finalists on March 19th. The 2019 Citizen Naismith Trophy will be awarded on at the Naismith Awards Brunch on April 7, 2019 during the Final Four in Minneapolis.
This is the first time the Vols have had a player on the list since Jordan McCrae and Jarnell Stokes were named to the preseason watch list.