Dalton Knecht named finalist for Naismith Trophy Player of the Year Award

Tennessee basketball's Dalton Knecht joins three other players as finalists for the Naismith Trophy Player of the Year Award.
Texas v Tennessee
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Tennessee basketball's Dalton Knecht has been named a finalist for one of the most prestigious awards in college basketball. He joins three of the best players in college basketball: Houston's Jamal Shead, North Carolina's R.J. Davis, and Purdue's Zach Edey.

The Naismith Trophy Player of the Year Award is awarded annually to the best basketball player in the country who symbolizes excellence, tradition, and prestige. Edey won the award last year and will be looking to be the first player to win the award two straight years since Ralph Sampson won the award three straight years from 1981 to 1983.

Although Edey seems like the easy choice for the award, Davis, Shead, and Knecht all pose threats to steal it from Edey. Knecht has been the best player in the country since the beginning of 2024 and has propelled the Vols to be one of the best teams in the country.

"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."

Since the start of the new year, Knecht has been averaging 26 points and 5.2 rebounds per game. While this is a yearly award, Knecht has to have an advantage as the hottest player in the country against the best teams, down the toughest stretch, and at the most pivotal time in the college basketball season.

Knecht has already been named the SEC Player of the Year and a First-Team All-American. He has undoubtedly been the most versatile, clutch, best player in the country over the past few months.

Edey is his biggest competition for the award. He is averaging 24.5 points and 12.1 rebounds per game this season and has been a big factor in getting Purdue to a one-seed in the NCAA Tournament.

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The Vols and Boilermakers could meet in the NCAA Tournament this weekend if the Vols can take care of business against Creighton and Purdue beat Gonzaga in the Sweet Sixteen. This matchup would bring a lot of hype as the top two seeds in the Midwest Region compete for a spot in the Final Four with two All-Americans pitted against each other.