Mercer Auburn

Auburn guard Mustapha Heron (5) drives to the basket in the first half of a win over Mercer on Sunday, Dec. 18, 2016 in Auburn, Ala.

Todd Van Emst/

Auburn sophomore Mustapha Heron was one of 20 players named to the watch list for the 2018 Jerry West Shooting Guard of the Year Award, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced on Tuesday.

The award, which is in its fourth year, recognizes the top shooting guard in Division I college basketball.

“These twenty collegiate athletes have worked tirelessly to earn their spots on this watch list and have shown similar work ethics and skills as the esteemed Jerry West," hall of fame president John L. Doleva said in a release.

Heron, the first five-star signee in Auburn men’s basketball history, was the Tigers’ leading scorer and rebounder as a freshman last season, averaging 15.2 points and 6.1 boards per game. The 6-foot-5, 218-pound Connecticut native also averaged a little more than an assist per game while shooting 44.2 percent from the field, 42.3 percent from beyond the arc and 77 percent from the free throw line.

The other 19 nominees for the award are Arizona’s Allonzo Trier, Boston College’s Jerome Robinson, BYU’s TJ Haws, Creighton’s Marcus Foster, Duke’s Grayson Allen, Florida’s KeVaughn Allen, Florida State’s MJ Walker, Houston’s Rob Gray, Kansas’ Malik Newman, Kentucky’s Hamidou Diallo, Miami’s Lonnie Walker, Mississippi State’s Quinndary Weatherspoon, Rhode Island’s E.C. Matthews, Seton Hall’s Khadeen Carrington, St. John’s Shamorie Ponds, Syracuse’s Tyus Battle, Texas’ Andrew Jones, USC’s De’Anthony Melton and West Virginia’s Daxter Miles Jr.

The watch list will be narrowed to 10 in February and five in March, with the winner being announced in April. Players can play their way onto or off the list at any point during the season, per the release.

The three past winners of the award are D’Anfelo Russell, Buddy Hield and Malik Monk.

“It is truly an honor be associated with this award and I am looking forward to seeing the level of competitiveness and talent each of these candidates exhibits this upcoming season," West said.

Josh Vitale is the Auburn beat writer for the Opelika-Auburn News. You can follow him on Twitter at @AUBlog. To reach him by email, click here.

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