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Ben McLemore, Jeff Withey make Naismith watch list

Kansas' center and shooting guard were placed on the 50-player list, which will eventually determine the college basketball player of the year

Jeff Curry-US PRESSWIRE

One Jayhawk seeks to round out a fine college career while another looks to start one. Senior center Jeff Withey and freshman guard Ben McLemore were given the honor of being placed on the Naismith early season watch list, the first of several steps in determining the college basketball player of the year.

Withey, a seven-footer from San Diego, CA, is in his second season as a starter for Kansas. Last season, Withey led the Big 12 in blocks and averaged 3.6 per game. He added nine points and 6.3 rebounds per game to his junior campaign. The Jayhawks starter was a factor in the national championship game against Kentucky, pulling down seven rebounds in a losing effort.

McLemore, a 6'5" shooting guard from St. Louis, comes into Kansas as Rivals.com's 17th-ranked recruit and No. 4 at his position. While he has not had the chance to build a resume like Withey, McLemore's potential is enough to get his name on the list.

The Naismith watch list is compiled each year by the Atlanta Tip-Off Club's Board of Selectors. In mid-February, the list will be whittled down to 30 names, with the Naismith Trophy voting academy eventually narrowing the list down to four finalists.