Parker, Paris Headline Naismith Candidates List

Three former Naismith High School Player of the Year winners are among 31 candidates vying for the 2008 Naismith Trophy presented by AT&T, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced today. Tennessee’s Candace Parker and Oklahoma’s Courtney Paris, both finalists for the Naismith Trophy a year ago and two-time All-Americans, join Connecticut freshman Maya Moore on the Naismith mid-season list.

The three collectively have won the past five Naismith National High School trophies. Parker (2003, 2004) and Moore (2006, 2007) hold the distinction as the only female athletes ever to win the award twice, with Paris claiming the trophy in 2005.

The women’s list, which includes 31 candidates because of a tie, was voted on by the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s Board of Selectors, comprised of leading basketball journalists, coaches and administrators from around the country. The board based its criteria on player performances this season, and the list was narrowed down from the pre-season list of 50 candidates who were announced at the beginning of the season.

“It gives us tremendous pride to see our former high school winners continue to improve and take their game to the next level, and become candidates for the college award,” said Gary Stokan, Atlanta Tipoff Club president. “Additionally, there is tremendous balance as evidenced by the number of seniors and underclassmen, and the fact we had a tie at number 30. Our voters will have a difficult time selecting the winner for the most prestigious award in all of college basketball.”

Again this year AT&T will give fans an unprecedented voice in selecting the winner. Fan voting, through the power and ease of text messaging, will account for 25 percent of the selection process. This program sets the standard in college athletics for integrating fans into the voting process and providing them with more input than with any other major collegiate sports award.

Fans will be eligible to cast their vote for the winner until April 5. AT&T is making the voting open to other wireless carriers allowing even more fans to participate. Other wireless carriers must opt-in for their subscribers to participate. The Men’s Naismith Trophy winner will be announced April 7 at the 2008 NCAA Final Four in Tampa.

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