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Jalen Brunson opens the season on the Bob Cousy Watchlist

NCAA Men's Final Four Semifinal - Villanova v Oklahoma Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Villanova Wildcats sophomore point guard Jalen Brunson played in the shadow of senior Ryan Arcidiacono last season, but basketball insiders know his potential. Among them was the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, which awards the Bob Cousy Award annually to the best Collegiate Point Guard -- and Brunson is on the preseason watchlist for 2017. The watchlist itself is compiled by a committee of media members and influencers within the college basketball community.

The Cousy Award committee will narrow its watch list to 10 players by mid-February and a list of five finalists will be announced in March. The winner of the 2017 Bob Cousy Award will be presented at the ESPN College Basketball Awards Show in Los Angeles on April 7.

A selection committee appointed by the Hall of Fame, reviews each candidate in contention. That committee is made up of college basketball professionals, including media, head coaches, media relations contacts and Hall of Famers.

Brunson averaged 9.6 points, 1.8 rebounds, and 2.5 assists in 24 minutes a game as a freshman on the National Championship squad.

Maurice Watson from Creighton and Edmund Sumner from Xavier are also representing the BIG EAST on the list.

Tyler Ulis from Kentucky was the 2016 winner of the award.

2017 Bob Cousy Award Candidates

Player School
Maurice Watson Jr. Creighton
Jack Gibbs Davidson
Frank Jackson Duke
Nigel Williams-Goss Gonzaga
Monte Morris Iowa St.
Frank Mason III Kansas
De'Aaron Fox Kentucky
Melo Trimble Maryland
Joel Berry II North Carolina
Dennis Smith North Carolina State
Jawun Evans Oklahoma State
Lonzo Ball UCLA
Jordan McLaughlin USC
Jalen Brunson Villanova
London Perrantes Virginia
Seth Allen Virginia Tech
Markelle Fultz Washington
Brunson Koenig Wisconsin
Edmund Sumner Xavier