Preseason honors for Gardner and Walton

University of Arizona men's basketball players Jason Gardner and Luke Walton were among 50 student-athletes named Friday to the 2002-03 John R. Wooden Award Preseason All-America Team. Each will be considered for college basketball's player-of-the-year honors.

Gardner, a 5-foot-10, 181-pound senior guard, made the Wooden Award preseason list for the third consecutive season. The Indianapolis, Ind., native averaged a team-leading 20.4 points, 2.9 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game, while logging 38.2 minutes per contest. In 34 games in 2001-02 Gardner shot 42.5 percent from the floor, 38.4 percent from three-point range, and his 106 three-point field goals ranked third on the UA single-season list. Gardner scored more points (692) in 2001-02 than any other player in the Pac-10 and was the only league player to be ranked in the top 10 in scoring average, assists and steals. Gardner, who ranks in the top 10 in 10 different UA career statistical categories, was named to three All-America teams in 2001-02. He was a third team selection by the Associated Press and a second team pick by and Basketball America. A starter in 103 of 104 career games played, Gardner has scored 1,512 points, knocked down 252 three-point field goals, passed out 464 assists and collected 164 steals. He and the Wildcats have amassed a 79-25 (.760) record over the past three seasons. Walton, a 6-foot-8, 241-pound senior forward, is the only member of the 2002 Wooden Award All-America Team on this year's preseason list. The native of San Diego averaged 15.7 points, 7.3 rebounds and a Pac-10 Conference-leading 6.3 assists in 31 games last year. He led the Wildcats with nine double-doubles and a triple-double while shooting 47.0 percent from the floor. The Pac-10 Tournament Most Outstanding Player, Walton scored in double figures 24 times in 2001-02 and had five double-figure assists games to his credit. He was the only Pac-10 player to be ranked in the league's top 15 in scoring and the top 10 in rebounding, assists and steals.

In addition to his Wooden Award honors last season, Walton also earned All-America kudos from Basketball Times (3rd), The Sporting News (2nd) and In 101 career games, Walton has averaged 8.7 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.4 assists.

Arizona, one of just seven programs nationally to have two players on the Wooden list, return nine letterwinners from a 2001-02 squad that finished with a 24-10 record and advanced to the NCAA Tournament West Regional Semifinals. It was Arizona's 18th consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament, the longest active streak in the nation, and the program's 15th straight 20-win season.

Wooden Award Preseason All-American Team - Top 50 Candidates (Based on a preseason poll. Players listed alphabetically.)

Mario Austin 6'9" Jr. F/C Mississippi State
Marcus Bailey 6'5" Sr. G/F Wyoming
Troy Bell 6'1" Sr. G Boston College
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
Tom Coverdale 6'2" Sr. G Indiana
Willie Deane 6'1" Sr. G Purdue
Erwin Dudley 6'8" Sr. F Alabama
Chris Duhon 6'1" Jr. G Duke
Carl English 6'5" Jr. G/F Hawaii
Ebi Ere 6'5" Sr. G Oklahoma
T.J. Ford 5'10" So. G Texas
Reece Gaines 6'6" Sr. G Louisville
Marcus Hatten 6'1" Sr. G St. John's
Jarvis Hayes 6'6" Jr. G/F Georgia
Chris Hill 6'3" So. G Michigan State
Kirk Hinrich 6'3" Sr. G Kansas
Josh Howard 6'6" Sr. F Wake Forest
Brandon Hunter 6'7" Sr. F Ohio
Luke Jackson 6'7" Jr. G Oregon
Britton Johnsen 6'9" Sr. G Utah
Dahntay Jones 6'6" Sr. F Duke
Jason Kapono 6'7" Sr. F UCLA
Brandin Knight 6'0" Sr. G Pittsburgh
Chris Marcus 7'1" Sr. C/F Western Kentucky
Jason Maxiel 6'7" So. F Cincinnati
Brett Nelson 6'3" Sr. G Florida
Jameer Nelson 6'1" Jr. G St. Joseph's
Emeka Okafor 6'9" Jr. F/C Connecticut
Ugonna Onyekwe 6'8" Sr. F Pennsylvania
Rickey Paulding 6'5" Jr. G Missouri
Kirk Penney 6'5" Sr. G Wisconsin
Hollis Price 6'1" Sr. G Oklahoma
Justin Reed 6'8" Jr. F Mississippi
Darius Rice 6'10" Jr. F Miami
Luke Ridnour 6'2" Jr. G Oregon
Romain Sato 6'5" Jr. G/F Xavier
Theron Smith 6'8" Sr. F Ball State
Mike Sweetney 6'8" Jr. F Georgetown
Chris Thomas 6'1" So. G Notre Dame
James Thomas 6'8" Jr. C Texas
Cory Violette 6'8" Jr. F/C Gonzaga
Dwyane Wade 6'4" Jr. G Marquette LUKE WALTON6'8" Sr. F ARIZONA
Travis Watson 6'8" Sr. F/C Virginia
David West 6'8" Sr. F/C Xavier

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