Five freshmen named to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award watch list

Skal Labissiere enters Kentucky as arguably the nation's top freshman.

On Friday, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced the 20 candidates for the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award.

Last season, Wisconsin big man Frank Kaminsky won the first-ever Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award.

The list of candidates includes five freshmen: Indiana's Thomas Bryant, Kansas' Cheick Diallo, Kentucky's Skal Labissiere, Maryland's Diamond Stone and UNLV's Stephen Zimmerman. However, Labissiere and Diallo are both waiting to be cleared by the NCAA.

The watch list also includes several mid-major standouts: UC Irivine's 7-foot-6 center Mamadou Ndiaye, Egidijus Mockevicius of Evansville and Weber State's Joel Bolomboy.

Here's the full list of candidates:

Kaleb Tarczewski, Arizona

Mamadou Ndiay, UC Irvine

Josh Scott, Colorado

Egidijus Mockevicius, Evansville

Przemek Karnowski, Gonzaga

Thomas Bryant, Indiana

Jameel McKay, Iowa State

Cheick Diallo, Kansas

Skal Labissiere, Kentucky

Diamond Stone, Maryland

Stephen Zimmerman, UNLV

Kennedy Meeks, North Carolina

Zach Auguste, Notre Dame

A.J. Hammons, Purdue

Jakob Poeltl, Utah

Damian Jones, Vanderbilt

Daniel Ochefu, Villanova

Josh Hawkinson, Washington State

Joel Bolomboy, Weber State

Devin Williams, West Virginia

Five finalists will be named in March. A winner will be selected on April 8.