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5 mid-major players named to Jerry West Award watch list

Atlantic 10 and WCC rivals top list of best shooting guards

NCAA Basketball: Portland at Brigham Young Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

Five mid-major players highlight the annual Jerry West Award watch list, which the Basketball Hall of Fame released on Tuesday.

Nick Emery of BYU, Charles Cooke of Dayton, Jordan Mathews of Gonzaga, Elijah Brown of New Mexico, and E.C. Matthews of Rhode Island were all named to the 20-player list honoring the best shooting guard in the country.

Conference rivals Emery and Mathews will square off twice this season, first on Feb. 2 in Provo, Utah, then on the 25th in Spokane on Senior Day. Emery had one of his best games of the season against Gonzaga in the West Coast Conference Tournament last year, when he scored 27 points and played all 40 minutes of a four-point loss.

Mathews played at California last year, where he averaged double-figures scoring and shot 41.6 percent from three.

Cooke and E.C. Matthews will also face each other twice in 2016-17 as part of Atlantic 10 play. Cooke, who was named to the Atlantic 10 preseason first team on Tuesday, is Dayton’s leading returning scorer and rebounder.

Matthews received second-team designation and is hoping to bounce back strong after an injury wiped out almost his entire 2015-16 season. With two full seasons under his belt, he is sitting at 999 career points and could play himself into the Atlantic 10 Player of the Year conversation.

Brown and New Mexico, meanwhile, have some work to do after a lackluster 17-15 season a year ago. The Lobos went just 10-8 in the Mountain West, but Brown was one of the bright spots, leading the team with 21.7 points per game.

The complete Jerry West Award watch list can be found below:

Alonzo Trier, Arizona
Dusty Hannahs, Arkansas
Nick Emery, BYU
Jacob Evans, Cincinnati
Charles Cooke, Dayton
Grayson Allen, Duke
Jordan Mathews, Gonzaga
Malcolm Hill, Illinois
James Blackmon Jr., Indiana
Peter Jok, Iowa
Devonte’ Graham, Kansas
Malik Monk, Kentucky
Antonio Blakeney, LSU
Donovan Mitchell, Louisville
Eron Harris, Michigan State
Elijah Brown, New Mexico
Tyler Dorsey, Oregon
E.C. Matthews, Rhode Island
Shake Milton, SMU
Isaac Hamilton, UCLA