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Dalton Knecht Named One Of Four Finalists For Naismith Trophy

Photo via Tennessee Athletics

Tennessee basketball’s Dalton Knecht is one the four finalists for the Naismith Player of the Year Award, given annually to the nation’s top player. Knecht joins Purdue’s Zach Edey, Houston’s Jamal Shead and North Carolina’s R.J. Davis.

Knecht is averaging 21.1 points and 4.9 rebounds per game this season and has lifted the Vols to the SEC Regular Season Championship and a two-seed in the NCAA Tournament. Despite a rare off shooting night, Knecht’s 18 points were crucial in the Vols’ Round of 32 win over Texas.

The SEC Player of the Year was even more impressive in conference play where he averaged 25.5 points per game on 48% shooting from the field and 42% shooting from three-point range.

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Over the course of the season, Knecht totaled 40 points once, 35-plus points five times, 30-plus points six times and 25-plus points 10 times. The Northern Colorado transfer is a consensus First Team All-American.

Purdue’s Zach Edey is considered a near lock for the award after winning it last season. The 7-foot-4 center is averaging 24.5 points and 12.1 rebounds per game for the Boilermakers this season. While Edey is the heavy favorite, Knecht has the best odds to unseat the reigning winner.

The two could potentially meet on the court this weekend as Tennessee and Purdue descend on Detroit for the second round of the NCAA Tournament. If the Vols get past Creighton and Purdue gets past Gonzaga in the Sweet 16 the two teams will meet in the Elite Eight.

But first, Tennessee must knock off three-seed Creighton on Friday night. Tipoff from Little Caesars Arena is at approximately 10:15 p.m. ET. TBS is broadcasting the game.

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