Wooden Award Preseason Top 50 Candidates

DePaul's Sammy Mejia is among the Top 50 candidates for the John R. Wooden Award.

LOS ANGELES - After tallying the ballots of the National Preseason Selection Committee, the John R. Wooden Award today announced the top 50 preseason candidates for the Men's 2006-07 Wooden Award All-American Team (see attached). The list is composed of 50 student athletes who, based on last year's individual performance and team records, are the early frontrunners for college basketball's most coveted trophy. These top 50 candidates are comprised of returning players, although transfers, freshmen, medical redshirts and other players who excel throughout the season will be evaluated and considered for both the Midseason top 30 list and the National Ballot. Players not on the preseason list are eligible for the midseason top 30 and ballot.

"With so many talented players across the country the committee had a tough time deciding on 50 candidates," said Duke Llewellyn, Wooden Award chairman. "15 conferences are represented this year, which shows the parity in college basketball today. These preseason selections represent the elite and our team at the Wooden Award is excited to see the best players in the nation prove their case as college basketball's player of the year."

LSU's star forward, Glen Davis, is the only preseason candidate who was honored last year as a member of the 2006 Wooden Award All-American Team. Tyler Hansbrough (North Carolina), Chris Lofton (Tennessee) and Nick Fazekas (Nevada), all candidates for last year's All-American Team, also made the preseason list. Other 2006-07 Top 50 candidates that were considered for last year's Wooden Award include guards, JamesOn Curry (Oklahoma State) and Jarrius Jackson (Texas Tech); and forwards, Jared Dudley (Boston College) and Alando Tucker (Wisconsin).

Candidates have been selected from 15 NCAA conferences, up from 11 last year. Conferences include the ACC (eight players), the Big 12 (eight players), the Pac-10 (seven players), the Big East (seven players), the SEC (six players), the Big 10 (four players), the Mountain West (two players), the Atlantic 10 (one player), the Conf. USA (one player), the Western Athletic (one player), the Mid Continent (one player), the Sun Belt (one player), the Horizon League (one player), the Colonial Athletic Association (one player), and the Big Sky (one player).

Smaller conferences saw their star players and teams represented by the Wooden Award's preseason selection; a testament to the increased talent level across the country. However, the college basketball juggernauts have made their presence felt as well with several big name schools having multiple players nominated. The returning 2006 National Champions, Florida, is represented by Corey Brewer, Al Horford, and Joakim Noah from last year's starting five. Among those teams that have two players represented are, UCLA, Alabama, Georgetown, North Carolina, Texas A&M, Kansas, Wisconsin, and Arizona. The national spotlight will not only be on these players but on these teams as they enter the 2006-07season.

In January, the Wooden Award committee will release the midseason top 30 followed by the national ballot in early March. On Tuesday, March 27, the 10-player Wooden Award All-American Team will be announced. The 2007 Award ceremony, which will include the presentation of the Men's and Women's Wooden Award, the Wooden Award All-American Teams, and the Legends of Coaching Award to recipient Gene Keady of Purdue University, will be held at The Los Angeles Athletic Club on April 7, 2007. The top five male and female finalists will be invited to Los Angeles for the awards ceremony and will receive a contribution from The Los Angeles Athletic Club for their university's general scholarship fund.

About the John R. Wooden Award

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 cumulative 2.0 GPA. Previous winners include such notables as Larry Bird ('79), Michael Jordan ('84), Tim Duncan ('97), Andrew Bogut ('05), and last year's recipients, Seimone Augustus ('06) and J.J. Redick.

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 as well as sent over 1,000 underprivileged children to week-long college basketball camps in the awards 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-American selections, takes place at The Los Angeles Athletic Club on the Friday prior to the John R. Wooden Award Ceremony.

For more information on the John R. Wooden Award, please contact 310-578-7050 or via email at dianella@formulapr.com, or visit www.WoodenAward.com.

LSU's Glen Davis is the only preseason candidate who was honored last year as a member of the 2006 Wooden Award All-American Team.

List of Candidates


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