Coach Hemi’s Midseason Naismith Award Ballot – January 31, 2020

Since 2015 I have been honored to sit upon the Naismith Board of Selectors for the annual Player of Year award. Watching the nation’s best players is a perk of my job. Seeing the career trajectory of past award winners such as Diamond Deshields (2013), Jackie Young (2016) and Christyn Williams (2018) first hand at Peach State Basketball events gives me a unique perspective. I am humbled to have such an opportunity.

The end of the high school season is near. This means that Award Selectors will soon be turning in their vote for the player who should be awarded the Jersey Mike’s Naismith Player of the Year Trophy. Voters were recently asked to trim their list down to ten candidates. Here are three candidates that I put on to my semi-finalist list.

(Click player cards below for rankings, video and more)

By: Jonathan Hemingway @JLHemingwayPSB

Paige Bueckers – Hopkins HS (Minnetonka, Minn.), 2020 – SIGNED Connecticut

Bueckers brings a unique style and flair with her game. Typically one might believe that a player that plays with extra pizazz to have efficiency issues. Not the case with the 5-foot-11 guard. Her skills are impeccable. She is a perfect fit for Geno Auriemma’s offensive system. She is capable of making plays at multiple perimeter positions on the court.

Hailey Van Lith – Cashmere HS (Cashmere, Wash.), 2020 – SIGNED Louisville

Van Lith has potential star power at the collegiate level and beyond. The lefty guard has dazzled social media followers with ankle breaking highlights. Van Lith would not be the first left-handed guard from the state of Washington to take over the college basketball, remember Kelsey Plum? She brings an offensive scoring prowess that coach Jeff Walz will surely be able to use effectively.

Angel Reese – St. Frances (Baltimore, Md.), 2020 – SIGNED Maryland

Reese is made for basketball in 2020. Is she a front court player? Is she a wing? Does it matter? Nope. Versatility is what coaches want and Reese can bring it. She can face the basket and stretch defenders to the arc. Or she can clean the glass and start the break. If she sticks to coach Brenda Frese script, she has the tools to end up in the WNBA in a few years as well.

Jonathan Hemingway is the Assistant Director of Scouting for the JumpOffPlus.com International Scouting Report, is on the Naismith Trophy Board of Selectors and owns CoachHemi.com, the go-to source for coaches for X’s and O’s. He is the floor director of #TeamEBA camps, a site director for #TeamPSB tournaments and can be reached at jonathanhemingway@peachstatebasketball.com.