BATON ROUGE – LSU fifth-year senior KJ Williams has been named Thursday on the 20-player watch list for the 2023 Karl Malone Award by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Named after Class of 2010 Hall of Famer and two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Karl Malone, the annual honor in its ninth year recognizes the top power forwards in Division I men’s college basketball. A national committee of top college basketball personnel determined the watch list of 20 candidates.

“The Basketball Hall of Fame is proud to annually recognize the best power forwards in the collegiate game with the Karl Malone Award, which bears the name of one of the greatest players of all time,” said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame. “To be named to the watchlist of the Karl Malone Award is a great honor and I know he values the opportunity to watch these players compete throughout the season. We are honored to have his unique perspective in our evaluation each year.”

Williams has joined first-year LSU head coach Matt McMahon in Baton Rouge after a strong campaign in 2021-22 that saw Murray State win 31 games and Williams named the OVC Player of the Year. Williams averaged 18.0 points, 8.4 rebounds and shot 53.8 percent from the field (245-of-455). He led the OVC in scoring, was second in rebound average and sixth in field goal percentage.

The list of candidates for the 2023 Karl Malone Award:

Enrique Freeman, Akron

Azuolas Tubelis, Arizona

Johni Broome, Auburn

Arthur Kaluma, Creighton

DaRon Holmes II, Dayton

Kyle Filipowski, Duke

Jalen Slawson, Furman

Drew Timme, Gonzaga

Jarace Walker, Houston

Trayce Jackson-Davis, Indiana

Kris Murray, Iowa

KJ Williams, LSU

Donta Scott, Maryland

DeAndre Williams, Memphis

Norchad Omier, Miami

Pete Nance, North Carolina

GG Jackson, South Carolina

Jayden Gardner, Virginia

Justyn Mutts, Virginia Tech

Graham Ike, Wyoming

*Players can play their way onto and off the list at any point in the 2022-2023 season.

Fans are encouraged to participate in Fan Voting, presented by Dell Technologies, in each of the three rounds beginning Friday, October 28. In late January, the watch list of 20 players for the 2022 Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year Award will be narrowed to 10 and then in late February to just five. In March the five finalists will be presented to Malone and the Hall of Fame’s selection committee where a winner will be selected.

The winner of the 2023 Karl Malone Award will be presented on a to be determined date, along with the other four members of the Men’s Starting Five. Additional awards being presented include the Bob Cousy Award (Point Guard), Jerry West Award (Shooting Guard), Julius Erving Award (Small Forward) and the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award (Center), in addition to the Women’s Starting Five.

Previous winners of the Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year Award include Keegan Murray, Iowa (2022), Drew Timme, Gonzaga (2021), Obi Toppin, Dayton (2020), Zion Williamson, Duke (2019), Deandre Ayton, Arizona (2018), Johnathan Motley, Baylor (2017), Georges Niang, Iowa State (2016) and Montrezl Harrell, Louisville (2015).

(Release via LSU Athletics)