Nov. 15, 2012
QUEENS, N.Y. -
St. John's senior guards Shenneika Smith and Nadirah McKenith were two of the top 50 women's basketball players from 34 schools around the country selected to the 2012-13 Naismith Trophy Early Season Watch List, which was announced by the Atlanta Tipoff Club on Thursday morning. It is the second-overall appearance for Smith on the prestigious list and the fourth-consecutive year that a player from St. John's has been represented.
The BIG EAST Conference sits atop the 2012-13 Naismith Women's early-season watch list, with 13 players from seven different universities being recognized.
St. John's is one of 12 schools with multiple honorees, while Smith and McKenith are among 28 seniors and 27 guards recognized.
"We are honored to have two players representing St. John's on the Naismith Player of the year Early Season Watch List," remarked St. John's women's basketball coach Joe Tartamella. "Both Smith and McKenith have been instrumental in the overall success of the St. John's program, and this year will hopefully be another big step for both players and our program."
The list was compiled by the Atlanta Tipoff Club's Board of Selectors, which based its criteria on player performances from the previous year and expectations for the 2012-13 college basketball season. The Naismith Women's College Player of the Year presented by AT&T will be awarded on April 8, 2013 in New Orleans, La.
In late February, the Atlanta Tipoff Club's Board of Selectors will compile a mid-season team of the top 30 players in the nation. In March, the Naismith Trophy voting academy will vote to narrow the list to the four finalists.
Smith, a Brooklyn, N.Y. native, also appeared on the list in 2010-11 as a sophomore. A 2012-13 Preseason All-BIG EAST selection for the third-straight season, Smith is regarded as one of the best wings and top defenders in the BIG EAST Conference. She was a 2012 All-BIG EAST first team honoree and 2012 BIG EAST All-Tournament selection as well as the 2012 Metropolitan Basketball Writers Association Player of the Year and first team member. She is currently No. 11 on St. John's all-time scoring list with 1,265 career points and No. 6 in all-time blocks with 93. The guard is also a two-time All-Met second team selection, a 2011 All-BIG EAST Second team selection and a unanimous pick to the 2009-10 All-BIG EAST Freshman team.
St. John's floor general, McKenith is the motor of the Red Storm's up-tempo offensive. Like Smith, she also received 2012-13 Preseason All-BIG EAST accolades. For three-straight years, the Newark, N.J., native has been recognized nationally on the Nancy Lieberman Award Point Guard of the Year Watch List. As a junior, she was an All-BIG EAST second team and All-Met first team honoree. McKenith was also a 2010 All-BIG EAST Freshman team honoree. She entered the 2012-13 season ranked No. 5 in St. John's all-time assist record book and is on track to break the Red Storm's assists record (530). McKenith is also on pace to become one of St. John's 1,000-point scorers.
Both Smith and McKenith were also 2012 WBCA Regional All-American selections.
ABOUT THE ATLANTA TIPOFF CLUB
The Atlanta Tipoff Club, an Atlanta Sports Council property, is committed to promoting the game of basketball and recognizing the outstanding accomplishments of those who make the game so exciting. The Atlanta Tipoff Club, founded during the 1956-57 season, has presented the Naismith Trophy every year since UCLA's Lew Alcindor first won the award in 1969. Old Dominion's Anne Donovan won the inaugural Women's Naismith Trophy in 1983.
The Naismith Award has become the most prestigious award in all of college basketball, recognizing the Men's and Women's College Basketball Player of the Year, Men's and Women's College Basketball Coach of the Year, as well as awards for outstanding achievement in high school basketball, officiating, and contribution to the game.