Baylor’s Motley Named Naismith Trophy Semifinalist

Posted at 6:19 PM, Mar 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-01 19:19:17-05

Baylor basketball forward Johnathan Motley is one of 10 semifinalists for the 2017 Naismith Men’s College Player of the Year Trophy, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced Wednesday.

Motley is one of three Big 12 Conference players still in consideration, joining Kansas’ Josh Jackson and Frank Mason III. Additional semifinalists include UCLA’s Lonzo Ball, Wisconsin’s Ethan Happ, Villanova’s Josh Hart, North Carolina’s Justin Jackson, Duke’s Luke Kennard, Purdue’s Caleb Swanigan and Gonzaga’s Nigel Williams-Goss.

The Naismith Award national voting academy will select four finalists for the award, and those four finalists will be announced on March 19. The final round of voting takes place March 20-30, and the four finalists will be invited to attend the Final Four in Phoenix as guests of the Atlanta Tipoff Club.

The 49th awarding of the James A. Naismith Trophy to the most outstanding college basketball player will be presented at the annual Final Four Awards Brunch on April 2 in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Motley, a fourth-year junior from Houston, leads the Big 12 with 12 double-doubles and 9.7 rebounds per game, ranks third with 17.5 points per game, fifth with a .525 field goal percentage, 12th with a .730 free throw percentage and 12th with 1.1 blocks per game. He also has 69 assists in 29 games this season, more than the 53 assists he posted in 68 games over his first two seasons combined.  

The 6-foot-10 forward’s numbers have improved in Big 12 play, where he leads the league with nine double-doubles and 10.4 rebounds per game. He also ranks second in scoring with 18.5 points per game, third with a .531 field goal percentage, sixth with 1.4 blocks per game and 12th with a .753 free throw percentage.

In his last 13 games, Motley is averaging 20.8 points, 10.5 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.0 blocks in 33.2 minutes per contest. He eclipsed the 20-point mark seven times in that stretch and has 10 games of 20+ points this season.

Motley currently ranks 22nd on Baylor’s all-time scoring list with 1,147 career points and seventh in program history with 117 career blocks. He also has 122 assists and 599 rebounds, leaving him one rebound shy of becoming the first player in program history with 1,000 points, 600 rebounds, 100 assists and 100 blocks.

No. 11 Baylor closes the regular season Saturday at Texas. That game will tip off at 3 p.m. CT on ESPN. Baylor’s first game at the Big 12 Championship will be March 9. With a win at Texas, Baylor will claim the No. 3 seed and play the No. 6 seed (Kansas State, TCU or Texas Tech) at 8 p.m. on ESPNU. With a loss against Texas, Baylor would be the No. 4 seed and face No. 5 seed Oklahoma State at 11:30 a.m. on ESPN2.

2017 Naismith Men’s College Player of the Year Semifinalists
Lonzo Ball, UCLA

Ethan Happ, Wisconsin
Josh Hart, Villanova
Josh Jackson, Kansas
Justin Jackson, North Carolina
Luke Kennard, Duke
Frank Mason III, Kansas

Johnathan Motley, Baylor
Caleb Swanigan, Purdue
Nigel Williams-Goss, Gonzaga