Knecht Among Four Naismith Trophy Finalists

(Courtesy / UT Athletics)

Knecht Among Four Naismith Trophy Finalists

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. –Dalton Knecht of the University of Tennessee men’s basketball team is a finalist for the prestigious Jersey Mike’s Naismith Trophy Player of the Year Award, as announced Tuesday afternoon by the Atlanta Tipoff Club/Naismith Awards.

Joining Knecht on the elite list are North Carolina’s R.J. Davis, Purdue’s Zach Edey and Houston’s Jamal Shead. They were the only four players in the country to earn First Team All-America status from all four major outlets used to determine consensus status.

“These players’ remarkable talent and unwavering commitment to college basketball shine throughout their achievements,” said Eric Oberman, President of the Atlanta Tipoff Club. “Their invaluable contributions have significantly contributed to their teams’ triumphs this season. It would be an honor to crown any of these exceptional student-athletes as winners of the prestigious Jersey Mike’s Naismith Trophy.”

A fifth-year guard, Knecht is also among 15 players on the Wooden Award Naismith Ballot and one of 30 finalists for the Lute Olson National Player of the Year Award. In addition, he was among 40 individuals on the most recent watch list for the USBWA Oscar Robertson Trophy, released Feb. 27.

Knecht, who helped Tennessee win its 11th SEC regular season title, is averaging 21.1 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game in his lone campaign as a Volunteer, while shooting 46.1 percent from the floor and 39.1 percent beyond the arc.

Named the SEC Player of the Year by both the league’s head coaches and the Associated Press, the latter in unanimous fashion, Knecht scored 25.5 points per game in SEC play, the second-best mark of anyone in the last 22 years (2022-24). That figure also led Division I conference scoring in 2023-24, regardless of league.

The fourth consensus First Team All-American in Tennessee history, Knecht leads the nation in 39-point (three) and 35-point (five) showings this year, with each tally tying for the best single-season mark ever by a Volunteer. His 717 points in 2023-24 put him co-third on the program’s single-season scoring list, just seven shy of second place.

A 6-foot-6, 213-pounder from Thornton, Colo., Knecht is the second Naismith Trophy finalist from Tennessee in the last six seasons. Grant Williams also made the cut in 2018-19 after his second straight SEC Player of the Year campaign.

The 2024 Jersey Mike’s Naismith Trophy Men’s Player of the Year announcement will occur April 7 at the Naismith Awards Brunch during the Final Four in Phoenix. The event will be held at the Phoenix Art Museum. SiriusXM will simulcast the live announcement on SiriusXM College Sports Radio (Channel 84).

Fans will once again be able to support their favorite finalist through the Naismith Awards Fan Vote presented by Jersey Mike’s, which runs Tuesday, March 26, through Tuesday, April 2, at naismithfanvote.com. The fan vote will account for five percent of the overall final vote. Fans may also vote by visiting @naismithtrophy, @MarchMadness and @MarchMadnessWBB Twitter pages.

The four finalists were chosen by the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s national voting academy, comprised of leading journalists from around the country, current and former head coaches, former award winners and conference commissioners, all of whom base their selections on outstanding coaching performances during the 2023-24 college basketball season. The vote was tabulated and verified by the Atlanta team of J.S. Held, a global consulting firm.

Knecht and sixth-ranked, second-seeded Tennessee (26-8, 14-4 SEC) take the court Friday at 9:59 p.m. against No. 11-ranked, third-seeded Creighton for a Sweet 16 clash, live on TBS and truTV from Little Caesars Arena in Detroit.

To keep up with the University of Tennessee men’s basketball team on social media, follow @Vol_Hoops on Instagram and X/Twitter, as well as /tennesseebasketball on Facebook.  

2023-24 JERSEY MIKE’S NAISMITH TROPHY PLAYER OF THE YEAR AWARD FINALISTS
R.J. Davis, North Carolina
Zach Edey, Purdue
Dalton Knecht, Tennessee
Jamal Shead, Houston

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