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Mandatory Credit: Justin Hokanson/Auburn Live

Walker Kessler named to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award Watchlist

AUBURN, Ala. (EETV)- Auburn center Walker Kessler has been named on the watchlist for the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award, which is given to the nation's top center, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced Friday.

Named after the three-time NCAA champion of the Cal Golden Bears and member of the 1995 Hall of Fame Class, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is one of the top players in the history of basketball. He is also the all-time leading scorer in NBA history.

"Rounding out the Men's Starting Five watch list is the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award," said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame. "Mr. Abdul-Jabbar is one of the most accomplished and decorated athletes of all time, so it is truly fitting to have his name associated with such a prestigious award. As a strong advocate for education and character, he brings a significant and meaningful perspective when evaluating talent and we truly cherish his involvement."

There are 20 names on the list, and Kessler is one of four SEC centers to be named. Kessler was apart of the North Carolina Tar Heels last season, where he averaged 4.4 points, 3.2 rebounds and 0.9 block last year as a freshman. He was also a highly touted recruit out of high school averaging 17.8 points, 9.3 rebounds and 5.2 blocks per game, and was ranked as the fifth best center in the class of 2020.

Previous winners of the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award include two-time winner Luka Garza, Iowa (2021, 2020); Ethan Happ, Wisconsin (2019); Angel Delgado, Seton Hall (2018); Przemek Karnowski, Gonzaga (2017); Jakob Poeltl, Utah (2016); and Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin (2015).

Kessler will make his Auburn debut on Nov. 5 at 7 p.m. CT, when the Tigers take on Southern Indiana in a exhibition game in Auburn Arena.

2022 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award Watch List
Walker Kessler, Auburn
Nick Muszyinski, Belmont
Mark Williams, Duke
Colin Castleton, Florida
Chet Holmgren, Gonzaga
Kofi Cockburn, Illinois
David McCormack, Kansas
Oscar Tshiebwe, Kentucky
Ahsan Asadullah, Lipscomb
Qudus Wahab, Maryland 
Jalen Duren, Memphis
Hunter Dickinson, Michigan
Armando Bacot, North Carolina
Moussa Cisse, Oklahoma State 
Nate Watson, Providence 
Zach Edey, Purdue
Osun Osunniyi, St. Bonaventure
Myles Johnson, UCLA
Fardaws Aimaq, Utah Valley
Liam Robbins, Vanderbilt