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Jaren Jackson Jr is averaging a team-high 3.5 blocks per game.

Michigan State’s Jaren Jackson Jr. named Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award candidate

Michigan State freshman center Jaren Jackson Jr. was named one of 10 candidates for the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award on Friday.

Jackson Jr. is averaging 11.3 points per game, 6.2 rebounds per game and a team-high 3.5 blocked shots per game. It’s his shot-swatting ability that’s garned Jackson Jr. national attention — his 91 blocks represent 43.8 percent of the team’s total number of blocks this season (208), which snapped the previous program record of 177 set in 2015-’16.

He leads the Big Ten and is ranked third in the nation in blocked shots. He’s been named Big Ten Conference Freshman of the Weeks four times this season, too.

It’s a resume that certainly makes Jackson a legimiate candidate for the award named after Abdul-Jabbar, an inductee of the Naismath Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and one of the most dominant centers of all time.

A national commitee determined the watch list of 20 candidates in October, and the in Mach five finalists will be presented to Abdul-Jabbar and the Hall of Fame’s selection committee. The winner will be announced April 6 at ESPN’s College Basketball Awards. The award’s previous winners are Gonzaga’s Przemek Karnowski (2017), Utah’s Jakob Poeltl (2016) and Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky (2015).

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