Men's Basketball: KJ Finalist For Wooden Award

  • By Linda Reid
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  • March 06, 2012 11:35 AM
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LOS ANGELES — The 15 Finalists for the John R. Wooden Award were announced by The Los Angeles Athletic Club on ESPN.com at 11am EST this morning. The National Ballot, consisting of these top players, will be mailed to Wooden Award voters this week. Selected by the Wooden Award National Advisory Board, the ballot is made up of 15 student-athletes who are the frontrunners for college basketball’s most prestigious honor. Voting begins March 12th. The Women’s midseason list will be released tomorrow.

All 15 players have proven to their universities that they are making progress toward graduation and are maintaining at least a cumulative 2.0 GPA, an important component of the Award insisted upon by Coach Wooden. The Wooden Award All American Teams will be announced the week of the “Elite Eight” round of the NCAA Tournament, making the Wooden Award unique among college postseason awards. Voters have until Monday, March 19 at Noon PDT to return their ballots, allowing them to take into consideration performance during the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament.

Ohio State sophomore forward Jared Sullinger is the only player returning from last year’s Wooden Award All-American Team. A finalist a year ago, Sullinger averages 16.9 points and 9.3 rebounds, while having recorded 12 double-doubles in 2012. Other players with notable statistics chosen to the ballot include Weber State’s Damian Lillard, the nation’s No. 2 scorer at 24.5 ppg, and the country’s top setup man, Scott Machado of Iona, who averages an NCAA-leading 10.1 assists.

Three freshmen made the list, including No. 1 Kentucky’s duo of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Anthony Davis. The only other freshman chosen was Duke’s Austin Rivers. He joins Marquette’s Jae Crowder and Isaiah Canaan of Murray State on the short list of players who did not make the midseason list, but who have played their way onto the Wooden Award ballot the second half of the season.

The Big East had three players chosen, including West Virginia's Kevin Jones, followed by the Big 12, Big 10, ACC, and SEC each with two. The MAAC, Big Sky, Missouri Valley and Ohio Valley conferences had one player chosen to the ballot.

The 36th annual Wooden Award Gala, will take place on Friday, April 6, 2012, and will honor winners, All-Americans and the Legends of Coaching winner Geno Auriemma of Connecticut. The John R. Wooden Award winner will be announced on ESPN the weekend of the Final Four in New Orleans, Louisiana.

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