TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Seminoles.com) – The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association announced on Wednesday the five finalists for the 2018 Cheryl Miller Award, which includes Florida State senior forward Shakayla Thomas.
Named after the three-time Naismith Player of the Year and 1995 inductee of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, the annual award in its inaugural year recognizes the top small forwards in women’s NCAA Division I college basketball.
A national committee of top women’s college basketball personnel including media members, head coaches, sports information directors and Hall of Famers narrowed the original award watch list of 20 players to 10 candidates and now just five finalists. In March, the five finalists will be presented to Ms. Miller and the Hall of Fame’s selection committee. The winner of the 2018 Cheryl Miller Small Forward of the Year Award will be determined by a combination of fan votes and input from the Basketball Hall of Fame’s selection committee. Fans are encouraged to visit www.HoophallAwards.com to cast their votes March 2-23.
“As someone who has been around the game as a player, coach, executive or analyst for virtually my entire life, I’m really excited about the direction of the women’s game” said Cheryl Miller. “The Basketball Hall of Fame is representative of men and women at all levels of the game, and I’m happy to be a part of the awards that will recognize these tremendous student-athletes.”
The five finalists for the 2018 Cheryl Miller Award are Gabby Williams (Connecticut), Thomas (Florida St.), Sophie Cunningham (Missouri), Jaime Nared (Tennessee), and Teana Muldrow (West Virginia).
Thomas is coming off her third consecutive All-ACC First Team selection by both the league’s head coaches and the Blue Ribbon Panel. She is the first Seminole to be a three-time first-team selection, and joins only Notre Dame’s Brianna Turner as the two active players in the conference with three first-team selections.
Throughout her career, Thomas has proven that she can score as efficiently and quickly as anyone in the country. This season, her 26.2 points per 40 minutes of play is first in the ACC, and her 217 made field goals is 11 shy of eclipsing her season high of 227 made as a sophomore.
The winner of the 2018 Cheryl Miller Small Forward Award will be announced during ESPN2’s telecast of the national semifinal games in the 2018 NCAA Women’s Final Four in Columbus, Ohio on Friday, March 30. The award will then be presented to the student-athlete on Saturday, March 31 at a new awards reception presented by the Basketball Hall of Fame and the WBCA and held at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. Each award will be presented by its respective Hall of Famer making this brunch a star-studded event.
Additional awards being presented include the Nancy Lieberman Point Guard Award, the Ann Meyers Drysdale Shooting Guard Award, the Katrina McClain Power Forward Award, and the Lisa Leslie Center Award, as well as the Wade Trophy, the sport’s oldest and most prestigious national player of the year award which is presented annually by the WBCA’s community of coaches to the best player in college women’s basketball.