Oakland’s Kendrick Nunn one of five Jerry West finalists
Detroit — The record book will forever say Kendrick Nunn played just one single season of Oakland Golden Grizzlies basketball.
But what a season it was.
And it could get even better. On Tuesday, Nunn was named one of five finalists for the Jerry West Award, given to the nation’s top shooting guard.
And, boy, few shoot like Nunn, who averaged more than 20 shot attempts per game this season, tops in Division I. He also averaged 25.9 points, clinging to second in in the nation, just ahead of Central Arkansas’ Jordan Howard, who’s at 25.8 but still has at least one game to play.
Either way, top three is all but assured for Nunn, whose lone season at Oakland — he transferred from Illinois — ended Monday night in a Horizon League tournament loss to Cleveland State.
“I made some brothers throughout the season,” Nunn said, reflecting on the year. “A great group of guys. I came in and they, they bearhugged me. I’m a new guy coming in, and I made some brothers.
“That’ll last a lifetime for me.”
Nobody had more 30-point games this season than Nunn (11), who led the nation in 3-pointers made during the regular season, averaging 4.47. His 777 points are second-most in a single season at Oakland, behind Reggie Hamilton’s 942 from 2011-12 and just ahead of Kay Felder’s 773 from 2015-16.
Nunn played through ankle tendinitis the entire season, and struggled at the end, with just 37 points on 13-for-44 shooting, combined, in two Horizon League tournament games. He was consistently double- and triple-teamed in the games against IUPUI and Cleveland State.
Moving forward, Nunn could be a second-round pick in the NBA Draft.
Nunn joins other Jerry West finalists Grayson Allen (Duke), Carsen Edwards (Purdue), Marcus Foster (Creighton) and Jerome Robinson (Boston College).
This is the fourth year of the award, named after the Basketball Hall of Famer and 1959 NCAA Final Four MVP.
Previous winners include Malik Monk, Kentucky (2017), Buddy Hield, Oklahoma (2016) and D’Angelo Russell, Ohio State (2015).
This year’s winner will be announced April 6 in Los Angeles, along with the winners of the Bob Cousy Point Guard Award, the Julius Erving Small Forward Award (Michigan State’s Miles Bridges is a finalist), the Karl Malone Power Forward Award and the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center Award (Michigan State’s Jaren Jackson Jr. is a finalist).