Kahlil Whitney selected to 2020 Julius Erving Award Preseason Watch List

Freshman is one of two SEC players selected to the preseason list

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (UK Athletics) – Freshman forward Kahlil Whitney was tabbed to the 2020 Julius Erving Award Preseason Watch list, presented annually by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. He is one of 20 players being considered for the nation’s best small forward award and is the third different UK player to be named to a preseason watch list for a positional award in as many days.

Whitney joins Florida’s Scottie Lewis as the lone Southeastern Conference players to earn selection to the preseason list of nominees. The SEC’s duo is two of six first-year players among the 20 preseason honorees.

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Named after Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer Julius Erving, this year’s award will be presented at the ESPN College Basketball Awards Show in April. Whitney is looking to become the Wildcats’ first winner of the small forward positional award, which is in its sixth year of existence.

Whitney was ranked among the top 15 players by every major recruiting service for the class of 2019. He was a Naismith High School Boys’ All-America Third Team selection and appeared in the McDonald’s All American Game, the Jordan Brand Classic Game and the Iverson Roundball Classic. He was tabbed the co-MVP of the Iverson all-star game after scoring 38 points.

The Chicago native averaged 19.4 points and 5.7 rebounds per game for Roselle Catholic (Roselle, New Jersey) as a senior. Whitney scored in double figures in all 28 games and recorded 20 or more on 11 occasions. He led Roselle Catholic to the New Jersey’s Tournament of Champions as a junior and scored more than 2,000 points during his high school career.

By mid-February, the watch list will be trimmed to 10 players. Five finalists will be revealed in March with the winner being announced during the annual ESPN College Basketball Awards show on April 10. New this season, fan voting will be a part of all three rounds of voting before a winner is announced.

Earlier this week, sophomore guard Ashton Hagans was named to the Hall of Fame’s Bob Cousy Award watch list (nations’ top point guard) and freshman guard Tyrese Maxey landed on the Jerry West Award watch list (nation’s top shooting guard).

Kentucky is slated to begin exhibition play beginning with its annual Blue-White Game on Friday. That game will air live on the SEC Network at 7 p.m. UK will follow that with two tune-ups against Georgetown College on Oct. 27 at 5 p.m. and Kentucky State on Nov. 1 at 7 p.m. Both games will air live on SEC Network. The Wildcats open the regular season in New York for the State Farm Champions Classic. They will face Michigan State at 9:30 p.m. on ESPN.

For the latest on the Kentucky men’s basketball team, follow @KentuckyMBB on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, and on the web at UKathletics.com.

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Bryan Kennedy hails from the Bluegrass State. He was born and raised in Owensboro, KY where he graduated from Apollo High School in 2006. Bryan graduated from the University of Kentucky with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Spanish in 2010. He also received his master's degree in Sports Media and Branding from Western Kentucky University. While at UK, Bryan was the general manager of the on-campus TV station. He also did sports reporting, anchoring, producing and even the weather for UK Student News Network. While working for UKSNN, he also had the pleasure of covering Coach John Calipari's first press conference when he was introduced as the new head coach of the Kentucky Wildcats; easily one of his favorite moments as a young sports reporter. Before coming to ABC 36, Bryan was a morning anchor and reporter at WXXV News 25, our sister station in Gulfport, MS. He anchored more than four hours of news every day, including morning shows on NBC and Fox. While down south, Bryan had the opportunity to cover the Sugar Bowl, New Orleans Saints and the New Orleans Pelicans. After spending a little more than two years at WXXV, Bryan is extremely excited to return home. In his spare time, Bryan enjoys playing sports, especially rugby. He also enjoys crossfitting and watching sports (obviously). He's extremely excited to cover Central Kentucky. Feel free to say hello and send story ideas toBKennedy@wtvq.com