Los Angeles (January 22, 2014)— The Los Angeles Athletic Club has announced its Midseason Top 25 today on ESPN SportsCenter and ESPN.com. Chosen by the Wooden Award Advisory Board, the list is comprised of 25 student-athletes who are the front-runners for the sport’s most prestigious individual honor based on their play so far this season. ESPNU will follow up at 5 pm Central with a half-hour show focusing on the candidates.
The players on the list are considered strong candidates for the official voting ballot, which will consist of approximately 20 top players who have proven to their universities that they are making progress toward graduation and maintaining at least a cumulative 2.0 GPA. However, players not chosen to the midseason list are still eligible for the ballot. The Wooden Award All American Team, consisting of the nation’s top 10 players, will be announced the week of the “Elite Eight” round of the NCAA Tournament.
Creighton senior forward Doug McDermott, a Wooden Award All American in 2012 and 2013, looks to become the first three-time selection on the men’s side since North Carolina’s Tyler Hansbrough (2007-09). McDermott is the nation’s No. 2 scorer at 24.9 ppg (through Jan. 19), and averages 7.1 rebounds per game while shooting 50.2% from the field for the 16-3 Bluejays. He is the only returning Wooden All American this season.
Other Midseason Top 25 picks with impressive statistics of note include Kentucky’s Julius Randle, who ranks No. 10 nationally at 10.5 rebounds per game; and two of the nation’s top playmakers, Chaz Williams of Massachusetts (No. 3 in the nation in assists, 7.4 apg), and Kyle Anderson of UCLA (No. 10, 6.6 apg).
Five freshmen were chosen to the list: Tyler Ennis of Syracuse; Aaron Gordon of Arizona; Jabari Parker of Duke; Randle of Kentucky; and Andrew Wiggins of Kansas.
Arizona (Gordon, Nick Johnson), Duke (Parker, Rodney Hood), Michigan State (Adreian Payne, Keith Appling) and Syracuse (Ennis, C.J. Fair) were the only schools with two players named to the Midseason Top 25. The Wildcats, Orangemen, and Spartans are ranked 1-2-3 in this week’s AP Top 25.
In terms of conferences, distribution of players was fairly even atop the top traditional conferences. The ACC had five selections from three schools, followed by the Pac-12 and Big Ten with four selections each, the Big 12 and SEC with three each, The American with two; and the Atlantic 10, Big East, Missouri Valley, Mountain West with one each.
About the John R. Wooden Award
The 38th annual Wooden Award ceremony will honor the Men's and Women's Wooden Award winners, and will include the presentation of the Wooden Award All American Teams and the Legends of Coaching Award, which in 2013 will go to Stanford Head Women’s Basketball Coach Tara VanDerveer. The event will take place the weekend of April 11-12, 2014.
Created in 1976, the John R. Wooden Award is the most prestigious individual honor in college basketball. It is bestowed upon the nation’s best player at an institution of higher education who has proven to his or her university that he or she is making progress toward graduation and maintaining a minimum cumulative 2.0 GPA. Previous winners include such notables as Larry Bird (’79), Michael Jordan (’84), Tim Duncan (’97), Candace Parker (’07 and ’08), Kevin Durant (’09) and Maya Moore of Connecticut (’09 and ‘11). Michigan’s Trey Burke won the 2013 Wooden Award presented by Wendy’s.
Since its inception, the John R. Wooden Award has contributed close to a million dollars to universities’ general scholarship fund in the names of the All American recipients. The Award has also sent more than 1,000 underprivileged children to week-long college basketball camps in the Award’s name. Additionally, the John R. Wooden Award partners with Special Olympics Southern California (SOSC) each year to host the Wooden Award Special Olympics Southern California Basketball Tournament. The day-long tournament, which brings together Special Olympic athletes and the All Americans, takes place at The Los Angeles Athletic Club the weekend of the John R. Wooden Award Ceremony.