UCLA Basketball: Kris Wilkes named to the preseason Naismith Trophy list

The 50-player preseason Naismith Trophy list was announced today and UCLA basketball’s sophomore small forward Kris Wilkes made the prestigious list.

The UCLA basketball team is coming into the 2018-19 season with a lot of promise and sophomore Kris Wilkes is a big reason why.

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Wilkes made a big enough impact on the team last year that he is being recognized as one of the 50-best players in the nation as he was named to the preseason Naismith Trophy list.

Per NaismithTrophy.com, the annual award honor “has become among the most prestigious national honors awarded each year to top basketball players in the nation.”

That says a lot about what type of player UCLA has with Wilkes.

Last season as a freshman, Wilkes was second on the team in scoring (13.7 ppg) behind Aaron Holiday and second on the team in rebounding (4.9 rpg) behind Thomas Welsh. Wilkes was a veritable offensive threat as he was able to score from all over the court. Whether it was from the outside or driving into the lane, Wilkes could be counted on to put points on the board.

Wilkes had the talent to enter the NBA Draft, which he tested the waters, but ultimately decided to come back to UCLA for another year and work on his game. With another season of college hoops under his belt, Wilkes should greatly improve his stock for the 2019 NBA Draft.

This is the second preseason award Wilkes has been named to as he was on the preseason Julius Erving Award watch list which honors the top small forward in the nation.

Wilkes is only one of three Pac-12 players named to the Naismith Trophy list along with USC’s senior forward Bennie Boatwright and Oregon’s freshman center Bol Bol.