EAST LANSING — Michigan State’s Adreian Payne and Gary Harris are among the early season candidates for the Oscar Robertson Trophy.
Payne and Harris were among 15 players named to the preseason watch list for the award on Tuesday. The watch list for the award, which goes to the national player of the year, was selected by the United States Basketball Writers Association board of directors.
MSU was the only school to have multiple players named to the watch list for the award. The other candidates include Michigan’s Mitch McGary, Ohio State’s Aaron Craft, Arizona State’s Jahii Carson, Syracuse’s C.J. Fair, Arizona’s Aaron Gordon, Virginia’s Joe Harris, Creighton’s Doug McDermott, UConn’s Shabazz Napier, Duke’s Jabari Parker, Kentucky’s Julius Randle, Oklahoma State’s Marcus Smart, Louisville’s Russ Smith and Kansas’ Andrew Wiggins.
The watch list is the latest honor for Harris and Payne, who both have earned preseason All-America honors. Harris, a sophomore guard, was named the preseason Big Ten player of the year last week and is coming off a debut season where he averaged 12.9 points and was named the conference’s top freshman.
Payne, a senior forward, averaged 10.5 points and 7.6 rebounds last season.
The No. 2-ranked Spartans open their season against McNeese State on Friday. Following that contest is a showdown with top-ranked Kentucky in Chicago on Tuesday, Nov. 12.