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Nov. 8, 2011
Five student-athletes from the ACC are among those listed on the Naismith Preseason watch list announced by the Atlanta Tipoff Club today. North Carolina's Harrison Barnes, John Henson, Kendall Marshall and Tyler Zeller and Duke's Austin Rivers are on the list for the prestigious college basketball honor.
Barnes, Henson and Zeller each earned second-team All-ACC honors a year ago, while Marshall was a third-team selection. Rivers is a freshman guard out of Winter Park, Fla.
Barnes, the 2010-11 ACC Freshman of the Year, was second on the team in scoring (15.7) and third in rebounding (5.8). Henson, the 2010-11 ACC Defensive Player of the Year, led the league in blocked shots (3.2) and was second in rebounding (10.1) while averaging 11.7 points per game.
Zeller led the ACC in field goal percentage (.547) and was seventh in the league in both scoring (15.7) and rebounding (7.2). Marshall, who along with Barnes earned All-ACC Freshman Team honors a year ago, became the third freshman in the past six years to lead the ACC in assists (6.2). He did so even though he3 did not start a game until Jan. 18.
The watch list was compiled by the Atlanta Tipoff Club's Board of Selectors, which based its criteria on player performances from the previous year and expectations for the 2012 college basketball season. The Naismith Trophy will be awarded at the 2012 NCAA Men's Final Four in New Orleans.
Two teams - UNC and Kentucky - boast four players each on the list, while three schools - Connecticut, Ohio State and Vanderbilt - each have three players. The list represents 14 different conferences and features 28 upperclassmen and 22 underclassmen.
In late February, the Atlanta Tipoff Club's Board of Selectors will compile a mid-season team of the top 30 players in the nation. Then in March, the Naismith Trophy voting academy will narrow the list to the four finalists.