The NCAA has announced the names of three recruits it plans to award next season, as part of its effort to reach and retain more players.
The announcements are part of a push to attract more top talent from all over the country and to help recruit them more aggressively.
Last season, the NCAA began awarding scholarships to high school and college basketball players, and each year it will announce new awards.
Last year, the top awards went to Kentucky guard Luke Hancock, who earned $50,000, and UCLA guard K.J. McDaniels, who got $50 to $80,000.
Hancock has been one of the best guards in the country for the past three years and the Lakers signed him to a four-year, $75 million contract this summer.
McDiags is also a former top-25 recruit in the nation, and he earned the $75,000 award.
McDaisels played at Kansas and UCLA, earning scholarships, and earned a $50k bonus.
McDaniels and Hancock have already received offers from the Utah Jazz and Boston Celtics, but they are the only two finalists to be announced.
The rest of the contenders will be announced next week.
The finalists are from the five-member Division I Basketball Championship Subdivision (D-IBCSD), which consists of the Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12, SEC, ACC and Big East.
The awards are awarded to the player who is the highest-ranked player in their conference, with the top-two players in each conference getting the award.
The NCAA will announce the winners of the awards next week at its annual meeting in Las Vegas.
The three names that will be awarded next year are Louisville guard Isaiah Hicks, who is a four time first-team All-American and two-time Big 12 Conference Player of the Year, and Michigan State guard Kaleb Tarczewski, who averaged 16.2 points and 8.2 rebounds per game last season.
The other two finalists are Syracuse guard Alex Poythress, who has a reputation as one of college basketball’s elite guards, and Purdue guard Jahlil Okafor, who was a second-team Big Ten Conference All-Freshman team last season and the Big Ten’s Big Ten Freshman of the Week.
Poythresses was the Big East Freshman Team Player of Day for the second straight season last season, and Okafys freshman season was his best yet, averaging 18.3 points and 7.6 rebounds per contest.
The 6-foot-4 guard also scored a career-high 28 points in a win over Kentucky.
Purdue guard Dwayne Bacon, who scored 13 points in the team’s upset of No. 19 Maryland in the Big 10 Tournament final, will also be honored for his play.
Bacon was the top scorer for Purdue last season after averaging 13.5 points per game, but his production fell off a cliff in the NCAA Tournament.