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Adama Sanogo named to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award Preseason Watch List

The junior is projected to be one of the best big men in college basketball this upcoming season.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

The accolades keep rolling in for star UConn big man Adama Sanogo. Less than two weeks after being named the Big East Preseason Player of the Year, the Bamako, Mali product was named to the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award watch list.

Sanogo finished last season as one of five finalists for the award and joins Big East big men Ryan Kalkbrenner of Creighton and Xavier’s Jack Nunge on the 20-player watch list. He’s also one of three finalists from last season returning to college basketball this season, joining Gonzaga’s Drew Timme and Kentucky’s Oscar Tshiebwe, who won the award last season. Timme is not on the watch list for the Center of the Year award this season and instead is being recognized as a power forward. The watch list will be trimmed down to 10 in January and then five by the end of the regular season in February.

After a solid freshman season, Sanogo made major strides last year as a sophomore, averaging 14.8 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. He also improved as a defender, staying out of foul trouble while blocking 55 shots. He remained a force on both ends of the boards, posting nine double-doubles and 22 games with 10 points or more, including a career-high 30 points over then No. 19 Auburn. He also led the Big East in rebounding with 9.7 boards per game and was named an All-Big East First Team selection.

UConn’s regular season schedule will see Sanogo take on at least four watch list candidates in Oregon’s Kel’el Ware, Oklahoma State’s Moussa Cissé and the aforementioned Nunge and Kalkbrenner, who the Huskies will see twice. Sanogo could also face off against Alabama’s Charles Bediako and Iowa State’s Sun Osunniyi depending on how the chips fall in the Phil Knight Invitational over Thanksgiving break.