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Bona Named to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award Watch List

Oct 28, 2022
Adem Bona (photo by Jan Kim Lim)

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – UCLA freshman Adem Bona has been selected to the 20-person preseason watch list for the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award, presented annually to the nation's best center.
Bona, listed at 6-foot-10 and 235 pounds, earned McDonald's All-America acclaim as a senior in high school last season at Prolific Prep in Napa, Calif. He spent the past two seasons at Prolific Prep and averaged 15.5 points, 10.5 rebounds and 3.5 blocks per game as a senior (2021-22). Bona was named an honorable mention All-America selection by at the conclusion of his senior season.
Bona, who grew up in Lagos, Nigeria, led the Prolific Prep basketball program to a 26-7 record last season. Prolific Prep concluded the year ranked No. 16 in the ESPN High School Boys' Basketball Top 25 rankings. He was ranked No. 15, nationally in his high school class in the composite recruit rankings in 2021-22.
College basketball's annual position-by-position watch lists, as announced by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, are being revealed this week. Earlier this week, Tyger Campbell (point guard), Amari Bailey (shooting guard) and Jaime Jaquez Jr. (small forward) were named to respective preseason award watch lists at those positions.
The 2022-23 season will mark the ninth year in which the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award recognizes the nation's top center. The award honors for UCLA standout Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who helped lead the Bruins' program to three consecutive NCAA titles from 1967-1969. A three-time National College Player of the Year selection while at UCLA (then known as Lew Alcindor), Abdul-Jabbar was a six-time NBA Champion, six-time NBA Most Valuable Player, two-time NBA Finals MVP and a 19-time NBA All-Star.
Kentucky Oscar Tshiebwe earned the 2022 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award. Iowa's Luka Garza was honored as the award recipient in 2020 and 2021.
College basketball fans can participate in fan voting, presented by Dell Technologies, starting on Friday, Oct. 28. The top 10 player selections from the fan vote will get an additional vote towards making the next round. The list of 20 preseason candidates for the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award will narrow to 10 student-athletes in late January. Five finalists will be selected in late February. Those five finalists will be presented in March 2022, before the Hall of Fame's selection committee, where a winner will be selected.
The list of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award candidates remains fluid, as student-athletes have the ability to play themselves on or off the list until the five finalists are announced.
The winner of this season's Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award will be presented on a date (to be determined) along with the other four members of the "men's starting five," including the Bob Cousy Point Guard Award, the Jerry West Shooting Guard Award, the Julius Erving Small Forward Award and the Karl Malone Power Forward Award.
For more information on the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award and all of the latest updates, log onto and follow @hoophall on Twitter and Instagram.
2022-23 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award Candidates
Adama Sanogo (Connecticut)
Adem Bona (UCLA)
Armando Bacot (North Carolina)
Braden Carlson (Utah)
Charles Bediako (Alabama)
Cliff Omoruyi (Rutgers)
Colin Castleton (Florida)
Derek Lively II (Duke)
Fardaws Aimaq (Texas Tech)
Hunter Dickinson (Michigan)
Jack Nunge (Xavier)
Jamarion Sharp (Western Kentucky)
Kel'el Ware (Oregon)
Moussa Cisse (Oklahoma State)
Oumar Ballo (Arizona)
Oscar Tchiebwe (Kentucky)
Osun Osunniyi (Iowa State)
PJ Hall (Clemson)
Ryan Kalkbrenner (Creighton)
Zach Edey (Purdue)