Kentucky Wildcats forward Chris Livingston is among 20 players to make the Julius Erving Award Preseason Watch List.
The Kentucky freshman comes in with a lot of hype as evidenced by being picked as a preseason contender for the award given annually to the nation’s top small forward.
Livingston, from Akron, Ohio, was a consensus 5-star prospect, averaging 18.2 points, 9.1 rebounds and 3.9 assists per contest as a senior at Oak Hill Academy after spending his first three years at Buchtel High School. Named a McDonald’s All-American and to the Jordan Brand Classic roster, Livingston was listed as the No. 10 overall player by Rivals, No. 11 by 247 Sports and No. 12 by ESPN. Livingston was named the 2022 Gatorade Virginia Player of the Year after earning Gatorade Ohio Player of the Year honors as a junior in 2021.
Other notable players selected for the award watch list include: Brandon Miller (Alabama), Jordan Walsh (Arkansas), Baylor Scheierman (Creighton), Dariq Whitehead (Duke), Josiah Jordan-James (Tennessee), Julian Strawther (Gonzaga), and Jalen Wilson (Kansas), among others.
Previous winners of the Julius Erving Award are Wendell Moore Jr, (Duke, 2022), Corey Kispert, Gonzaga (2021), Saddiq Bey, Villanova (2020), Rui Hachimura, Gonzaga (2019), Mikal Bridges, Villanova (2018), Josh Hart, Villanova (2017), Denzel Valentine, Michigan State (2016) and Stanley Johnson, Arizona (2015).
Livingston fits more naturally as a small forward, but will likely see time on the court as a shooting guard and a small-ball power forward. That positional versatility should allow Livingston to see the floor early and often.
Kentucky’s Sahvir Wheeler was already announced as a member of the preseason watch list for the Bob Cousy Award, and Antonio Reeves and Cason Wallace were selected for the preseason watch list for the Jerry West Award.
Fans are encouraged to participate in voting in each of the three rounds for the Naismith awards. In late January, all of the lists will be narrowed down to 10 players and five in February. Winners will be announced at a to-be-determined date.