The Richmond, Ind., native, who was recently named to the Preseason All-BIG EAST Team, is one of 50 players to make the cut for the Wooden Award. The listing includes eight players from the BIG EAST Conference.
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. Transfers, freshmen, and medical redshirts are not eligible for this preseason list, but 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. Last year, Kevin Durant of the University of Texas was the first freshman to win the Wooden Award.
The preseason watch list for the Naismith Award also includes 50 players, including seven players from the BIG EAST Conference.
The watch list was compiled by the Atlanta Tipoff Club's Board of Selectors, which based its pre-season criteria on player performances from last season and expectations for the 2007-08 season. Seniors and juniors accounted for 17 apiece, along with 16 sophomores. The list does not include incoming freshmen, although those student-athletes will be considered in the first vote in January, 2008. The Naismith Trophy is the most prestigious national award presented annually to college basketball's players of the year. Durant also claimed the Naismith Trophy in 2006-07.
James was a First Team All-BIG EAST selection in 2006-07 after contributing 14.9 points, 4.9 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game.