Muhammad a Naismith Award candidate

UCLA freshman Shabazz Muhammad is one of 30 candidates for the Naismith Men's College Player of the Year award given annually by the Atlanta Tipoff Club.

Muhammad, a 6-foot-6 forward, is averaging a team-best 18.2 points, a figure that leads all freshmen in the nation. He is second in the Pac-12 in scoring and leads the conference in 3-point shooting percentage (43.2 percent). UCLA (20-7, 10-4 Pac-12) is half a game out of first place in the conference entering play Wednesday.

Muhammad is one of four freshmen to be named to the list of 30 candidates for the award, won last year by Kentucky’s Anthony Davis. Allen Crabbe of California is the only other player from the Pac-12 among the 30 candidates.

Marques Johnson (1977), Bill Walton ('72, '73, '74) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (then Lew Alcindor, '69) are past winners for UCLA.

The list will be cut to four players in late March and the award will be presented April 7 in Atlanta during Final Four weekend.