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Illinois guard Malcolm Hill named to 2016-17 Naismith Trophy Preseason Watch List

Hill averaged 18.1 points and 6.6 rebounds, per game last year.

NCAA Basketball: Illinois at Maryland Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Illinois basketball’s best player is under consideration for another major award. The Atlanta Tipoff club announced on Thursday that senior wing Malcolm Hill was one of 50 players named to the 2016-17 Naismith Trophy preseason watch list.

Hill averaged 18.1 points, 6.6 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 1.2 steals per game last year while shooting 43.6% from the field. Only three other players (Ben Simmons, Denzel Valentine, and Thomas Walkup) managed to achieve those numbers.

James Blackmon Jr. (Indiana), Miles Bridges (Michigan State), Thomas Bryant (Indiana), Ethan Happ (Wisconsin), Nigel Hayes (Wisconsin), Peter Jok (Iowa), Bronson Koenig (Wisconsin), Caleb Swanigan (Purdue), and Melo Trimble (Maryland) also represent the Big Ten on the initial watch list.

This wasn’t the only recognition for Hill on Thursday as the senior was also ranked as the nation’s No. 33 overall player by SB Nation in their 2016-17 college basketball preview.

The Fighting Illini will begin the regular season on Friday night when they host Southeast Missouri State in Champaign. The contest is slated to begin at 8:00pm CT and it’ll be broadcasted on BTN.