Johnson, Williams Named to Naismith Watch List
Nov. 24, 2010
The Naismith Trophy is the most prestigious national award presented annually to college basketball’s player of the year. For more information, visit www.naismithawards.com .
The watch 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 2010-11 college basketball season. The Naismith Trophy presented by AT&T will be awarded on April 4, 2011 at the NCAA Women’s Final Four in Indianapolis.
Williams, known as `Fire’ for her explosiveness and ability to score in bunches is garnering national attention for the first time in her impressive career. Johnson, who has embraced the moniker `Ice’, because of her calm, cool and collected playing style, had previously been named to the Wade and Wooden Preseason Watch Lists.
“It’s a true blessing to be coaching two players considered amongst the nation’s elite,” said head coach Katie Meier. “What I love about them the most is that they are far more concerned about Miami being amongst the nation’s elite than their own individual recognitions.”
Never before in program history has a pair of teammates been named to the list, but Johnson and Williams may come to expect national attention like this more often. In arguably the best women’s basketball conference in the country, the duo finished the 2009-10 season as the second- and third-best scorers in the ACC – Williams with 19.6 and Johnson with 19.0. Johnson was also the only player in the conference to rank among the Top 10 in scoring, rebounding (7.7 rpg) and assists (4.6 apg) from her guard position.
Four games into this season, the tandem has improved on those gaudy numbers from last. Williams currently leads the conference in averaging 22.5 points per game while Johnson is right behind her at 21.0. Johnson – as she has every year in her career, leads the `Canes with 8.3 rebounds per game. Williams leads Miami with 13 assists while only committing one turnover in her last three contests.
“They have given so much to this program as we work towards being a consistent postseason team,” added Meier. “Their individual talent is amazing, but what has impressed me is how hard they’ve worked in developing their overall games.”
Last season, the duo led the Hurricanes to a championship appearance in the Women’s National Invitational Tournament. Along the way, they each earned All-ACC honors and were named to the WNIT All-Tournament Team.
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. Then in March, the Naismith Trophy voting academy will vote to narrow the list to the four finalists.