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Three SEC players appear on Naismith Award Top 30 list

Two Kentucky Wildcats and a South Carolina Gamecock make up the list!

NCAA Basketball: South Carolina at Kentucky Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

As the college basketball season rolls along, award watchlists continue to be released.

On Thursday, the Naismith Award, given to the national player of the year, released its list of 30 players.

Of the 30, three players play in the SEC: Kentucky’s Malik Monk and De’Aaron Fox, and South Carolina’s Sindarius Thornwell.

Monk currently leads the SEC in scoring at 21.9 points per game. If he finishes the season with 20+ PPG, Monk will be just the second SEC freshman since 1992-93 to average over 20 points per game in his freshman season, joining former Kentucky Wildcat Jamal Murray.

Fox currently leads the SEC with 5.5 assists per game, and picked up right where Tyler Ulis left off at the point guard position for Kentucky. Fox also averages 16 points per game.

Thornwell has done a little bit of everything for the Gamecocks this season. His 20.4 points per game would be the second best scoring average for South Carolina since 1992-93, behind Devan Downey in 2009-2010. Additionally, Thornwell’s 7.7 rebounds per game is second in the SEC. Thornwell would be the first SEC player since Shaquille O’Neal to average at least 20 points and 7.5 rebounds per game in a single season if the numbers hold.

The SEC has just two previous winners in the 47 year history of the Naismith Award: Pete Maravich (LSU, 1970) and Anthony Davis (Kentucky, 2012).

The full list of 30 can be found below.

Naismith Award Watch List

Dwayne Bacon Sophomore G Florida State ACC
Lonzo Ball Freshman G UCLA Pac 12
Joel Berry II Junior G North Carolina ACC
Dillon Brooks Junior F Oregon Pac 12
Jalen Brunson Sophomore G Villanova Big East
Bonzie Colson Junior F Notre Dame ACC
Jawun Evans Sophomore PG Oklahoma State Big 12
Marcus Foster Junior G Creighton Big East
De'Aaron Fox Freshman G Kentucky SEC
Markelle Fultz Freshman G Washington Pac 12
Ethan Happ R-Sophomore F Wisconsin Big Ten
Josh Hart Senior G Villanova Big East
Josh Jackson Freshman G Kansas Big 12
Justin Jackson Junior F/G North Carolina ACC
Marcus Keene Junior G Central Michigan MAC
Luke Kennard Sophomore G Duke ACC
Jock Landale Junior C St. Mary's West Coast
TJ Leaf Freshman F UCLA Pac 12
Lauri Markkanen Freshman F Arizona Pac 12
Frank Mason III Senior G Kansas Big 12
Donovan Mitchell Sophomore G Louisville ACC
Malik Monk Freshman G Kentucky SEC
Monte Morris Senior G Iowa State Big 12
Jonathan Motley Junior F Baylor Big 12
Alec Peters Senior F Valparaiso Horizon League
Dennis Smith Jr. Freshman G NC State ACC
Caleb Swanigan Sophomore F Purdue Big Ten
Sindarius Thornwell Senior G South Carolina SEC
Melo Trimble Junior G Maryland Big Ten
Nigel Williams-Goss R-Junior G Gonzaga West Coast