Nov. 8, 2011
Nelson and Smith represent two of the Pac-12 Conference's three selections to this season's preseason watch list. Washington's Terrence Ross was the only other player from a Pac-12 program selected to the preseason list.
Nelson, a junior forward from Modesto, Calif., led the Bruins in points per game (13.9) and rebounds per game (9.1) as a sophomore in 2010-11. Smith averaged 10.9 points per game and 6.3 rebounds per game as a freshman last season. Nelson earned first-team All-Pac-10 honors and Smith secured Pac-10 All-Freshman Team acclaim in 2010-11.
The watch list was compiled by the Atlanta Tipoff Club's Board of Selectors, which based its criteria on player performances from the previous year and expectations for the 2012 college basketball season. The Naismith Trophy will be awarded at the 2012 NCAA Men's Final Four in New Orleans.
The Board of Selectors will compile a midseason team of the top 30 players in the nation in late February. In March, the Naismith Trophy voting academy will vote to narrow the list to the four finalists.
Ranked No. 17 in the preseason AP poll, UCLA opens its 2011-12 season against Loyola Marymount on Friday, Nov. 11. Game time at the Los Angeles Sports Arena is 7:30 p.m. Friday's season opener will be televised live by FS West.