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UW's Happ on Abdul-Jabbar Watch List

Few players in Wisconsin men's basketball history have enjoyed a freshman season as successful as that of Ethan Happ's in 2015-16. On the strength of his breakout debut campaign, Ethan Happ was named to the watch list for the 2017 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award, as announced by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Friday.

Joining teammates Nigel Hayes (Karl Malone Award) and Bronson Koenig (Bob Cousy Award), Wisconsin is one of just nine schools to feature at least three players on Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame award watch lists. Duke leads all schools with five, North Carolina and UCLA each have four representatives, while Wisconsin is tied for the fourth-most candidates in the country with three.

Happ looks to expand on his consensus Big Ten Freshman of the Year season that saw him become just the second Big Ten freshman in over 20 years to average at least 11.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 1.0 steals and 0.5 blocks per game. The Milan, Illinois, native proved to be one of the most well-rounded players in the conference last season and took home Big Ten All-Defensive Team honors after he led the Big Ten with 63 steals and paced the Badgers with 32 blocks.

Grabbing 7.9 boards per game to go along with his 12.4 points per game, Happ set the Wisconsin freshman record with 10 double-doubles last season.

Happ started all 35 games of his debut season and became just the third NCAA freshman over the last 15 seasons to score 400 points, have 60 steals and 30 blocks, joining Kevin Durant and DuJuan Blair.

By mid-February, the watch list of 20 players for the 2017 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award will be narrowed down to just 10. In March, five finalists will be presented to Mr. Abdul-Jabbar and the Hall of Fame's selection committee. The winner of the 2017 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award will be presented at the ESPN College Basketball Awards Show in Los Angeles, California, on Friday, April 7, 2017. Broadcast information will be released at a later date.

Previous winners of the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award include Jakob Poeltl, Utah (2016) and Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin (2015).

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