Dudley a finalist for Wooden Award

LOS ANGELES, CA -- As the country's best college basketball teams begin to eye the end of the season title, so do the nation's best players. Today, the Wooden Award Committee trimmed the list of top candidates for the John R. Wooden Award down to 30.

The remaining list includes 2002 Wooden Award All-American Luke Walton (Arizona). Nine NCAA conferences are represented, including the ACC, Big 10, Big 12, Pac-10, Big East, Atlantic 10, SEC, Conference USA and Missouri Valley Conference. Kansas (Nick Collison and Kirk Hinrich) and Arizona (Walton and Jason Gardner) lead the way with two nominations apiece.

Four players that were not Wooden Award Preseason Candidates were added to the list, including freshman Carmelo Anthony (Syracuse), senior Kyle Korver (Creighton), junior Andre Emmett (Texas Tech) and freshman Bracey Wright (Indiana). Anthony and Wright will try to become the first freshmen on the Wooden Award All-American Team since Georgia Tech's Stephon Marbury in 1996.

The Committee bases the Midseason Top 30 on individual player performance and team records through the early part of the season. Players who do not make the list are still eligible for consideration for the Wooden Award. After each school accredits their respective athlete(s) and ensures they meet the academic requirements, the Committee will pare down the list to a ballot consisting of 15-20 players. The official ballot will be released in early March.

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 university that he is making progress toward graduation and maintaining a cumulative 2.00 GPA. Previous winners include such notables as Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Tim Duncan and Jayson Williams.

The 2003 Award ceremony, which will include the presentation of the Wooden Award All-American team, will be held at the Los Angeles Athletic Club on Saturday, April 12th. The Top 5 candidates will be invited to Los Angeles for the ceremony and $15,000 will be contributed in their name to their university's general scholarship fund.

Wooden Award Midseason Top 30 Candidates

Carmelo Anthony, 6'8", Fr., F, Syracuse
Mario Austin, 6'9", Jr., F/C, Mississippi State
Steve Blake, 6'3", Sr., G, Maryland
Keith Bogans, 6'5", Sr., G, Kentucky
Matt Bonner, 6'10", Sr., F, Florida
Nick Collison, 6'9", Sr., F, Kansas
Brian Cook, 6'10", Sr., F, Illinois
Erwin Dudley, 6'8", Sr., F, Alabama
Chris Duhon, 6'1", Jr., G, Duke
Andre Emmett, 6'5", Jr., G, Texas Tech
T.J. Ford, 5'10", So., G, Texas
Reece Gaines, 6'6", Sr., G, Louisville
Jason Gardner, 5'11", Sr., G, Arizona
Marcus Hatten, 6'1", Sr., G, St. John's
Jarvis Hayes, 6'6", Jr., G/F, Georgia
Kirk Hinrich, 6'3", Sr., G, Kansas
Josh Howard, 6'6", Sr., F, Wake Forest
Brandin Knight, 6'0", Sr., G, Pittsburgh
Kyle Korver, 6'7", Sr., F, Creighton
Jameer Nelson, 6'1", Jr., G, St. Joseph's
Emeka Okafor, 6'9", So., F/C, Connecticut
Hollis Price, 6'1", Sr., G, Oklahoma
Darius Rice, 6'10", Jr., F, Miami
Luke Ridnour, 6'2", Jr., G, Oregon
Mike Sweetney, 6'8", Jr., F, Georgetown
Chris Thomas, 6'1", So., G, Notre Dame
Dwyane Wade, 6'4", Jr., G, Marquette
Luke Walton*, 6'8", Sr., F, Arizona
David West, 6'8", Sr., F/C, Xavier
Bracey Wright, 6'3", Fr., G, Indiana

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