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EJ Montgomery named to Karl Malone Award Watch List

Montgomery is the fourth Wildcat to make a preseason watch list.

Jason Marcum - Sea of Blue

The Kentucky Wildcats continue to earn spots on preseason award watch lists, the latest being EJ Montgomery.

On Thursday, Montgomery was named to the watch list for the 2020 Karl Malone Award, presented to the nation’s best power forward.

The sophomore big man is UK’s leading returning rebounder at 4.1 boards per game. He also averaged 3.8 points per game and shot with a 48% rate from the field. His 38 blocks ranked third on the team, and he led the team in that category 14 times last season.

Montgomery appeared in all 37 games for the Wildcats during his freshman year, including 10 starts. He started in nine of UK’s final 11 games, and the Wildcats were 9-1 during that stretch.

Much of the preseason hype Kentucky has gotten is due to the big expectations for Montgomery to have a breakout season for a Wildcats team in the top-five of most preseason polls and among the top title favorites for the 2019-20 season.

How big a jump Montgomery makes in Year 2 will go a long way in determining if Kentucky can live up to those expectations and make another deep NCAA Tournament run.

Montgomery is the fourth Wildcat to make a preseason watch list. Sophomore guard Ashton Hagans was named to the Bob Cousy Award watch list (nations’ top point guard). Freshman guard Tyrese Maxey made the Jerry West Award watch list (nation’s top shooting guard). Freshman forward Kahlil Whitney is on the Julius Erving Award watch list (nation’s top small forward).