TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Sophomore Solomon Alabi, who became just the seventh freshman in ACC history to lead the league in blocked shots during the 2009 season, has been named to the Naismith Trophy Preseason Watch List by the Atlanta Tip-Off Club. The award is presented annually to the nation’s top collegiate player.
Alabi, who was named to the Wooden Award Watch List earlier this season, is one of only 10 sophomores and one of only nine players from the ACC named to the Naismith Award Watch List.
The Naismith Award Watch List was compiled by the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s Board of Selectors which based its criteria on player performances from the 2008-09 season and expectations for the 2009-10 season. The Naismith Trophy is presented by AT&T and will be awarded at the 2010 NCAA Men’s Final Four in Indianapolis, Ind. Blake Griffin of Oklahoma won the award in 2009.
Alabi was the only freshman named to the All-ACC Defensive Team and was named to the All-ACC Freshman team in 2009. He was also named to the All-ACC Tournament Second-Team as he helped lead the Seminoles to the ACC Tournament championship game for the first time in school history. Following their appearance in the championship game of the ACC Tournament, the Seminoles earned a No. 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
“Solomon Alabi has the length and presence to disrupt a game on the defensive end,” said ESPN college basketball expert Andy Katz. “But what separates Alabi from other players with similar ability is his desire to not just be another lanky center who gets drafted on potential. Alabi could have left for the NBA Draft last spring and likely would have been taken somewhere in the first round.”
Alabi averaged 8.4 points (second on the team), 5.6 rebounds (first), 2.1 blocked shots (first) and shot a team leading .540 from the field in his first full season as a Seminole. He ranked third on the team in total minutes played (779), fifth in average minutes played per game (22.3), as the leader and one of only two players on the team to shoot 50 percent or better from the field for the season, was fourth on the team in free throws made and attempted, led the team in offensive rebounds (75/2.1 orpg), defensive rebounds (122/3.5 drpg) and total rebounds (197/5.6 rpg), and had 18 steals. Alabi blocked at least one shot in 32 of the Seminoles’ 35 games and had multiple blocked shots in 22 of Florida State’s 35 games
“Mark this name down: Solomon Alabi. He may very well be the next great thing,” said Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe during the 2008-09 season. “I have seen the future of bigs and his name is Solomon Alabi.”