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Monday, February 13, 2012
Naismith boys' hoop finalists announced

By Jason Jordan

The Atlanta Tipoff Club released the finalists for the Naismith Boys' High School Player of the Year award Monday, and all four seniors made up the top four in the ESPNU 100.

Tilton School (Tilton, N.H.) center Nerlens Noel, Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) small forward Shabazz Muhammad, Grace Prep (Arlington, Texas) center Isaiah Austin and St. Anthony (Jersey City, N.J.) guard/forward Kyle Anderson all made the cut.

The winner will be recognized by the Atlanta Tipoff Club at its season-ending Naismith Awards Banquet March 22 at the Georgia International Convention Center in Atlanta.

“This was one of my goals,” said Noel, the top-ranked player in the ESPNU 100. “It’s a great achievement to be recognized as a finalist. I thank God for this opportunity.”

“It’s a great honor to even be a finalist," added Austin. "It’s crazy to think that I could be National Player of the Year. This whole year has been a blessing from the lord.”

Noel, who recently reclassified from 2013 to 2012, and Muhammad remain undecided about where they’ll attend college. Austin signed with Baylor and Anderson signed with UCLA.

“Just as we’ve seen in the past, there are no runaway winners in any of the Naismith high school award categories this year," said Eric Oberman, executive director of the Atlanta Tipoff Club. “Each player has a compelling basketball resume that makes them a solid choice for the award, and we anticipate the voting to come right down to the wire. Whoever wins the award will join a prestigious list of Naismith Trophy alumni.”

Jason Jordan is the basketball editor for ESPNHS. He can be reached at jason.x.jordan.-ND@espn.com. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter: @JayJayESPN.