TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Seminoles.com) – Sophomore guard Devin Vassell, a starting guard for the No. 5 ranked Florida State Men’s Basketball team, has been named to the 2020 Naismith Men’s Defensive Player of the Year Midseason Watch List. Vassell is one of only 15 collegiate basketball players selected from various conferences including the PAC-12, Big 12, Atlantic 10, SEC, BIG EAST, Big and Ten; and one of just three ACC players on the list.
Vassell enters Saturday’s game against Notre Dame ranked eighth in the ACC in steals (1.7 spg) and 10th in blocked shots (1.2 bpg) and is one of only two players in the ACC who is ranked in the top 10 for both steals and blocked shots. Vassell has earned at least one steal in 14 consecutive games and totaled four in Florida State’s victory over USF on December 21 and totaled his career-high of four blocked shots in the Seminoles’ victory over ACC rival Miami on January 18.
Vassell has proved to be an asset to the Florida State program on both sides of the ball, especially defensively as he is a leader on the team in blocks (21), steals (30), and defensive rebounds (68) for the season. He is one of the Seminoles’ toughest defenders who utilizes his athleticism and incredible wingspan to lockdown some of the top players in the nation.
“I’m very excited that our program and my teammates are receiving the recognition we are,” said Vassell. “I’m happy to be named to the Naismith Award Defensive Watch list because defense is one of the things my teammates and I work hard on every day; defense is the cornerstone of the success of our program.”
Named in honor of Dr. James Naismith, the creator of the game of basketball, the first Naismith trophy was awarded in 1969 to UCLA’s Lew Alcindor, later known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Since then, numerous other awards have been added to the Naismith collection.
In 2018, the Men’s and College Defensive Player of the Year was added to the Naismith family, with Jevon Carter of West Virginia taking home the inaugural award.
As a freshman, Vassell played an integral role in Florida State earning a No. 4 seed in the West Region of the 2019 NCAA Tournament and helped the Seminoles finish the 2018-19 season with a 29-8 overall record, a 13-5 mark in ACC play, a fourth place finish in the ACC standings and in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.
2020 Midseason Naismith Defensive Player of the Year Award
Devin Vassell, So., Florida State
Tyler Bey, Jr., Colorado
Mamadi Diakite, Sr., Virginia
Marcus Garrett, Jr., Kansas
Jacob Gilyard, Jr., Richmond
Ashton Hagans, So., Kentucky
Tre Jones, So., Duke
Kylor Kelley, Sr., Oregon State
Quincy McKnight, Sr., Seton Hall
Davion Mitchell, So., Baylor
Fatts Russell, Jr., Rhode Island
Zavier Simpson, Sr., Michigan
Aaron Thompson, Jr., Butler
Mark Vital, Jr., Baylor
Mike Watkins, Sr., Penn State