"This list represents the elite of college basketball," said Wooden Award chairman Doug Llewellyn, "and our entire team at the Wooden Award is excited to see the best players in the nation battle it out in order to prove their case as basketball's player of the year."
Kennedy Winston, a forward from Prichard, was a first team All-Southeastern Conference selection by the league's coaches in 2003-04 and was named the SEC Player of the Week three times last season. He led Alabama in scoring with his average of 17.1 points a game. He averaged 5.5 rebounds. Despite coming back from September 2003 knee surgery, Winston started in all 33 games for Alabama, leading it to the NCAA Elite 8 and a 20-13 record.
Mississippi State's Lawrence Roberts and Providence's Ryan Gomes are preseason candidates who were honored last year as members of the 2004 Wooden Award All-American Team. In addition to Roberts and Gomes, other preseason candidates who were mentioned in the running for last year's Wooden Award and were named to the official voting ballot include guards John Lucas Jr. (Oklahoma State), Julius Hodge (North Carolina State) and B.J. Elder (Georgia Tech); and forwards Travis Diener (Marquette), Ike Diogu (Arizona State), Francisco Garcia (Louisville), Wayne Simien (Kansas) and Hakim Warrick (Syracuse).
Ten NCAA conferences are represented, including the ACC (12 players), Big East (eight players), Big 12 (six players), Pac 10 (six players), Big 10, (five players), SEC (five players), Conference USA (five players), West Coast Conference (one player), Mountain West Conference (one player), and the American East Conference (one player).