Stewart Continues to Impress, Makes 30-Man Naismith List

Dan Raley

Isaiah Stewart isn't going to let a disappointing Washington basketball team ruin his season.

The 6-foot-9 freshman forward on Thursday was selected as one of 30 midseason finalists for the Citizen Naismith Trophy Watch List by the Atlanta Tipoff Club. The list of candidates will be pared to 10 on March 5.

Stewart is one of four freshmen in contention for the award, joining Anthony Edwards of Georgia, Precious Achiuwa from Memphis and Vernon Carey Jr. of Duke. 

He's one of two Pac-12 players in the running with Oregon guard Payton Pritchard.

Entering Thursday night's game at USC, Stewart led the Huskies in scoring at 17.4 points and 8.7 rebounds per game, even with most teams double- and triple-teaming him. 

The sensational first-year player also is a top 10 finalist for the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year award and a Wooden Award Top 25 Midseason selection.

Even while playing for the league's last-place team, Stewart leads the Pac-12 with nine double-double outings. Five of them involved at least 20 points and 10 rebounds. 

While he hasn't made any decision public, Stewart is fully expected to leave for the NBA following one season at Washington. 

"No, not really," he said when asked if his departure was a forgone conclusion. I know like I've been on all those mocks (drafts) and stuff like that. I've been doing a great job of paying attention to the season, paying attention to my teammates, and just trying to focus on what's ahead of us."