FORT COLLINS, Colo. Redshirt-junior Nico Carvacho has been named a finalist for the 2019 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award, the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame announced today. He is one of 10 players on the list from which the top center in men's college basketball will be recognized.
Carvacho, who was not originally on the watch list of 21 candidates in October, vaulted onto the list from his play for the Rams this season. The Frisco, Texas native is leading the nation in rebounding at 12.9 boards per game and a team-high 15.8 points per game, ranking ninth in the Mountain West. His 15 double-doubles this year are tied for third in the country and he ranks 29th in field goal percentage, having hit 59.0 percent of his shots from the floor. Carvacho began the year in 20th on the CSU all-time rebounds list and now has 832, trailing all-time leader Pat Durham (1985-89) by 19 boards heading into tomorrow's game at Wyoming. His 28 career double-doubles are also tied for the program record and tied for eighth most in MW history with recent CSU standout Emmanuel Omogbo (2015-17). His 18 Mountain West double-doubles are also fourth all-time, as he has recorded seven of them in 10 league games this year.
"I'm extremely blessed to be a finalist for such a prestigious award," Carvacho said. "Thanks to God, my family, my coaches and teammates because without their help, support and hard work, I wouldn't be able to be where I am today."
"Kareem Abdul-Jabbar built a legacy at UCLA with unparalleled accolades as an individual and as part of a championship winning team," said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame. "The Naismith Starting 5 celebrates the top student-athletes in the game today and we're grateful for Kareem's involvement and expertise as we work toward selecting a recipient in April."
The award is named after three-time NCAA champion Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who played for legendary coach and Hall of Famer John Wooden at UCLA from 1966-1969. He is a three-time NCAA Champion who earned numerous accolades including three-time Final Four Most Outstanding Player, three-time National College Player of the Year and three-time Consensus First-Team All-American (1967-1969). As a professional, Abdul-Jabbar is a six-time NBA Champion, six-time NBA Most Valuable Player, two-time NBA Finals MVP, 19-time NBA All-Star and the league's all-time leading scorer.
In March, five finalists will be presented to Mr. Abdul-Jabbar and the Hall of Fame's selection committee. The winner of the 2019 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award will be presented at The College Basketball Awards presented by Wendy's in Los Angeles, CA on Friday, April 12, 2019, along with the other four members of the Naismith Starting 5. Additional awards being presented and receiving support from Eaton Ephesus Lighting include the Bob Cousy Point Guard Award, the Jerry West Shooting Guard Award, the Julius Erving Small Forward Award and the Karl Malone Power Forward Award. Broadcast information will be released by ESPN at a later date.
Previous winners of the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award include Angel Delgado, Seton Hall (2018), Przemek Karnowski, Gonzaga (2017), Jakob Poeltl, Utah (2016) and Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin (2015).