University of Louisville junior guard Russ Smith is one of 12 players selected by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association for its 2013 Oscar Robertson Trophy Midseason Watch List.
Members of the association's board of directors chose the players to be included on the list as contenders for the Oscar Robertson Trophy presented by Aflac.
The award is to be presented to the national player of the year by its namesake at the Devon Energy College Basketball Awards on April 15 at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. The Henry Iba Coach of the Year Award and the Integris Wayman Tisdale Freshman of the Year Award will also be presented at the gala to be held annually the Monday following the NCAA Men's Final Four.
Smith is among the BIG EAST Conference leaders in scoring (18.4 points per game, third in the BIG EAST), steals (2.2, third, 22nd nationally) and free throw percentage (.790, ninth). He has scored in double figures in all but two games this season and has scored 20 or more on ten occasions. He was named to the Wooden Award Midseason Top 25 and was the fifth-highest vote-getter on a Jan. 10 ESPN.com poll of Player of the Year candidates at mid-season.
Teammates from Indiana and Kansas headline the watch list that includes four Big Ten players. Indiana's Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller are joined by fellow Big Ten standouts Trey Burke of Michigan and Deshaun Thomas of Ohio State. The pair of Jayhawks named to the list are Ben McLemore and Jeff Withey. Big East standouts Michael Carter-Williams of Syracuse and Smith join ACC star Mason Plumlee of Duke as players who were also recognized.
A pair of Oscar Robertson National Players of the Week from this season are featured as well: Doug McDermott from Creighton and Burke. Also, two natives of Canada, UNLV's Anthony Bennett and Gonzaga's Kelly Olynyk, were selected. Overall, the list is balanced by class with two seniors, five juniors, three sophomores and two freshmen appearing.