Scout/Jeff Drummond

Kentucky Wildcats' Malik Monk, De'Aaron Fox on Wooden Award late season Top 20

Freshman duo on watch list for college basketball's player of the year.

Kentucky's Malik Monk and De'Aaron Fox are listed among the 20 players on the John R. Wooden Award late season watch list, the Los Angeles Basketball Club announced Wednesday.

The Wildcats' talented freshman guards are both up for the award presented annually to college basketball's national player of the year. The finalists for the honor will be announced on March 4.

Three schools -- UK, Kansas and North Carolina -- each placed two players on the watch list. Only six freshmen were chosen. 

Monk leads UK and ranks 10th nationally in scoring at 21.9 points per game this season. His current pace would make him the highest-scoring player for a single season under John Calipari. The Lepanto, Ark., native has scored in double figures in every game this season, including a UK freshman record 47 points against North Carolina, 35 points against Georgia and 34 points against Ole Miss.

Fox, meanwhile, is averaging 16.0 points, 5.5 assists and 1.6 steals per game. His 126 assists are already the sixth most by a Calipari freshman in a single year with seven regular season games remaining.

Earlier this season against Arizona State, Fox recorded only the second triple-double in school history when he posted 14 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in the Bahamas. Prior to that, Chris Mills had the only triple-double at UK in a Dec. 27, 1988, game against Austin Peay.

Voting for the Wooden Award will open prior to the start of the NCAA Tournament and will allow voters to take into consideration performances during early round games. The Wooden Award All-American Team will be announced the week of the Elite Eight round of the NCAA Tournament. The winner of the 2017 award will be announced during the ESPN College Basketball Awards Show on April 7.

Previous winners of the Wooden Award include such notables as Larry Bird (1979), Michael Jordan (‘84), Tim Duncan (‘97), Kevin Durant (‘07), Anthony Davis ('12),  Trey Burke (’13), Doug McDermott (‘14), Frank Kaminsky (’15) and Buddy Hield  (’16).

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