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UVU’s Aimaq named to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar watch list

By Daily Herald - | Oct 22, 2021

UVU sophomore center Fardaws Aimaq cradles the ball during the 96-78 loss at St. John's in New York on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021.

Springfield, Mass. — The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced today that Utah Valley center Fardaws Aimaq has been named to the 2022 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award Watch List.


Named after Class of 1995 Hall of Famer and three-time NCAA Champion Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the annual honor in its eighth year recognizes the top centers in men’s college basketball. A national committee of top college basketball personnel determined the watch list of 20 candidates.


Aimaq becomes the first player in UVU history named to one of the preseason national watch lists. The redshirt sophomore center heads into his second season with the Wolverines after earning both WAC Player of the Year and WAC Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2020-21, helping UVU to a share of the WAC regular season championship.


He also earned First Team All-WAC honors and was named to the WAC All-Defensive Team, WAC All-Newcomer Team, NABC All-District First Team, Lefty Driesell Defensive All-America team, and NetScouts All-International Team honors. His accolades also included the Riley Wallace Player of the Year award and the Joe Kearney award, which is the top athletic honor in the WAC.


The Vancouver, British Columbia native led the nation in rebounding last season, averaging 15.0 boards a game. He became the first player in 40 years to average 15 or more rebounds in a single season. Aimaq also averaged 13.9 points a game while shooting 48.5 percent from the field.


“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.”


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar played for legendary coach and Hall of Famer John Wooden at the University of California, Los Angeles from 1966-1969. He is a three-time NCAA Champion who earned numerous accolades including three-time Final Four Most Outstanding Player, three-time National College Player of the Year and three-time Consensus First-Team All-American (1967-1969). As a professional, Abdul-Jabbar is a six-time NBA Champion, six-time NBA Most Valuable Player, two-time NBA Finals MVP, 19-time NBA All-Star and the league’s all-time leading scorer.


College basketball fans are encouraged to participate in Fan Voting presented by Dell Technologies in each of the three rounds. In late January, the watch list of 20 players for the 2022 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award will be narrowed to 10 and then in late February to just 5. In March the five finalists will be presented to Mr. Abdul-Jabbar and the Hall of Fame’s selection committee where a winner will be selected. 


The winner of the 2022 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award will be presented on a to be determined date, along with the other four members of the Men’s Starting Five. Additional awards being presented include the Bob Cousy Point Guard Award, Jerry West Shooting Guard Award, the Julius Erving Small Forward Award and the Karl Malone Power Forward Award, in addition to the Women’s Starting Five.


Previous winners of the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award include two-time winner Luka Garza, Iowa (2020-21), Ethan Happ, Wisconsin (2019), Angel Delgado, Seton Hall (2018), Przemek Karnowski, Gonzaga (2017), Jakob Poeltl, Utah (2016) and Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin (2015).


For more information on the 2022 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award and the latest updates, log onto www.hoophallawards.com and follow @hoophall and #KareemAward on Twitter and Instagram. Starting Five Fan Voting presented by Dell Technologies will go live today, October 22.


The Utah Valley basketball team opens the 2021-22 season at Boise State on Nov. 9. The Wolverines will host Antelope Valley on Friday, Nov. 12 in the team’s home opener.


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