Zags Norvell Jr. named to Julius Erving Award watch list - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Zags Norvell Jr. named to Julius Erving Award watch list

Photo: Gonzaga Athletics Photo: Gonzaga Athletics

By Gonzaga Athletics

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Gonzaga men's basketball's Zach Norvell Jr. was named one of 20 candidates for the 2018 Julius Erving Small Forward of the Year Award Wednesday.

Named after Hall of Famer and 16-year professional basketball player Julius Erving, the annual honor in its fourth year recognizes the top small forwards in Division I men’s college basketball. A national committee comprised of top college basketball personnel determined the watch list of 20 candidates.

Norvell Jr. redshirted for the Zags last season and will make his freshman debut in 2017-18. He came to GU from a basketball-rich high school in Chicago, Simeon Career Academy, which has graduated players like Derrick Rose and Jabari Parker in recent years. Norvell Jr. was the No. 76-ranked recruit nationally by ESPN Top 100.

In his lone appearance in a Gonzaga uniform, Norvell Jr. scored a game-high 18 points in last season’s exhibition victory over West Georgia. He made three three-pointers, and had two assists and two steals.

Julius Erving attended the University of Massachusetts and averaged 26.3 points and 20.2 rebounds per game, making him one of only six NCAA men’s basketball players to average more than 20 points and 20 rebounds per game. After two seasons, Erving made the jump to the American Basketball Association and was the league’s most recognizable player when it merged with the National Basketball Association in 1976. During his professional career, Erving won three championships, four most valuable player awards and three scoring titles. In 1996, he was named a member of the NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Time Team.

By mid-February, the watch list of 20 players for the 2018 Julius Erving Small Forward of the Year Award will be narrowed to just 10. In March, five finalists will be presented to Mr. Erving and the Hall of Fame’s selection committee. The winner of the 2018 Julius Erving Award will be presented at the ESPN College Basketball Awards Show presented by Wendy’s in Los Angeles on April 6, 2018. Broadcast information will be released at a later date.


Previous winners of the Julius Erving Small Forward of the Year Award include Josh Hart, Villanova (2017), Denzel Valentine, Michigan State (2016) and Stanley Johnson, Arizona (2015).

Gonzaga opens the season with an exhibition against The College of Idaho on Nov. 4. The first regular season game is on Nov. 10 at 6 p.m., against Texas Southern.

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