Wisconsin men’s basketball standout Ethan Happ was named a finalist for the 2017 Kareem-Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award on Friday.
The sophomore was one of 10 finalists honored with the distinction, which was announced by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The award, now in its third year, honors the top center in college basketball.
Happ leads the Badgers (19-3, 8-1 Big Ten) with 14.5 points per game and 9.2 rebounds per game, while also ranking first in blocks and second in assists per game (2.8). The 6’10 big man is also the nation’s only player to lead his team in points, rebounds, assists, blocks and steals during conference play, according to UW. He has won consecutive Big Ten Player of the Week honors in recent weeks.
The Milan, Ill., native joins former Wisconsin teammate Frank Kaminsky as the only two Badgers in school history to be named a finalist for the award. Kaminsky, now with the Charlotte Hornets, won the award for his performance during the 2014-15 season.
This is just another honor for Happ, who was also selected for three other lists: the Naismith Player of the Year award preseason list, the John R. Wooden Award Midseason Top 25 list, the Oscar Robertson Trophy Midseason watch list.
If Happ continues his dominant play seen recently, he could be presented with the honor at ESPN’s College Basketball Awards on April 7 in Los Angeles. The list of finalists will be cut to five in March.f
Here’s the official release from the Wisconsin athletic department:
MADISON, Wis. – His resume is growing as diverse as his game.
Adding to his list of award watch lists and recognition, sophomore Ethan Happ of the Wisconsin men’s basketball team was named a finalist for the 2017 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award, as announced by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Friday.
One of 10 finalists, the annual honor is in its third year of recognizing the top centers in men’s college basketball. A national committee comprised of top college basketball personnel determined the watch list of 20 candidates in October and has narrowed the list down to just 10.
Happ joins fellow teammate Frank Kaminsky as the only two players in program history to be named a finalist for the award. Kaminsky went on to win the award in 2015 and become consensus National Player of the Year.
After a breakout freshman campaign garnered him Preseason All-Big Ten honors, Happ has been building a case to be an All-American in his sophomore season. Happ is on the John R. Wooden Award Midseason Top 25 list, the Oscar Robertson Trophy Midseason watch list and the Naismith Player of the Year award preseason list.
The two-time reigning Big Ten Player of the Week, Happ recently recorded his eighth double-double of the season (14 points, 13 rebounds) in a road win at Illinois.
Happ is the nation’s only player to lead his team in points, rebounds, assists, blocks and steals during conference play. The Milan, Illinois, native is the only player in the NCAA averaging at least 13.0 points, 9.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.0 blocks per game.
In fact, Happ is trying to become the first major conference player in over 20 years to reach those marks for an entire season. Vermont's Marqus Blakely (2010) is the only NCAA Division-I player to achieve that since 1996-97.
In last week’s win over Rutgers at Madison Square Garden, Happ became the only Big Ten player in over 20 years to tally at least 30 points, six rebounds, four steals, three assists and two blocks in a game. He's also the only player in the NCAA to reach those numbers this season and he's the first major conference player to do so since Ben Simmons did so for LSU last season.
In March, five finalists will be presented to Mr. Abdul-Jabbar and the Hall of Fame’s selection committee for the 2017 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award. The winner of the 2017 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award will be presented at ESPN’s College Basketball Awards live in Los Angeles, California, on April 7. Broadcast information will be released at a later date.