Shabazz Napier Makes Naismith Trophy Cut; Josh Pastner on Kuran Iverson, UConn

by Categorized: American Athletic Conference, Shabazz Napier, UConn men's basketball


A few notes …

Shabazz Napier has made the mid-season cut for the Naismith Trophy, the player of the year award from the Atlanta Tip-Off Club. The four finalists will be announced on March 23, the winner presented on April 6.

Here are the top 30:

Shabazz Napier (UConn) Napier, Chaz Williams (UMass), Andrew Wiggins (Kansas), Fred VanVleet (Wichita State), Xavier Thames (San Diego State), Nik Stauskas (Michigan), Russ Smith (Louisville), Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State), Julius Randle (Kentucky), Casey Prather (Florida), Lamar Patterson (Pitt), Jabari Parker (Duke), Doug McDermott (Creighton), Roy Devyn Marble (Iowa), Sean Kilpatrick (Cincinnati), DeAndre Kane (Iowa State), Nick Johnson (Arizona), Joe Jackson (Memphis), Gary Harris (Michigan State), Aaron Gordon (Arizona),   C.J. Fair (Syracuse), Tyler Ennis (Syracuse), Joel Embid (Kansas), Melvin Ejim (Iowa State), Cleanthony Early (Wichita State), Bryce Cotton (Providence), James Bell (Villanova), Cameron Bairstow (New Mexico), Keith Appling (Michigan State), Kyle Anderson (UCLA).

More info is here, on the website.


Had a chance to speak to Memphis coach Josh Pastner this morning about Hartford’s Kuran Iverson, who will be coming home to play with Tigers on Saturday, and the rematch with UConn.

Iverson, 6-10, who played at Northwest Catholic, has played in 17 of Memphis’ 24 games, averaging 2.6 points, 1.8 rebounds.

“He’s getting better every day,” Pastner said. “It may not show in the minutes, but he’s learning the right way to play.”

To get more minutes, Iverson need to improve his rebounding – “be a ‘glass guy’ on every play,” Pastner said.

Memphis (19-5, 8-3 in the AAC) had a tougher time than expected against UCF before winning 76-70 on Wednesday night. The Tigers lost in Memphis to UConn, 83-73, on Jan. 16.

“UConn has a few studs,” Pastner said. “They shot the daylights out (57.1 percent) and they outrebounded us (34-27, 20-8 in the second half). It’s not a complicated thing, we’d better defend and we’d better rebound better.”

Memphis is coming to town Friday. Pastner suspended freshman Dominic Woodson from the team, for a pattern of inappropriate language. Read about that here on


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