Mbakwe on Wooden Award Watch List

Minnesota senior Trevor Mbakwe has been named to the John R. Wooden Award Preseason list, the Los Angeles Athletic Club announced today. Mbwake, a Second Team All-Big Ten performer as a junior, is one of 50 players chosen by a preseason poll of national college basketball media members.

Mbakwe, who led Team USA in rebounding this summer at the World University Games, is coming off of a junior season that saw him lead the Big Ten Conference in rebounding at 10.5 rebounds per game.

His 327 total rebounds were the third-most in a single-season at Minnesota and the most since Jim Brewer collected 331 rebounds during the 1970-71 season. Mbakwe also averaged a team-high 13.9 points per game to become the first Gopher player to average a double-double since Kris Humphries did so during the 2003-4 season.

The players on the Preseason list are considered strong candidates for the Midseason list and the official voting ballot, both of which are open to freshman and transfer students. The National Ballot consists of approximately 20 top players who have proven to their universities that they are also making progress toward graduation and maintaining at least a cumulative 2.0 GPA.

The Wooden Award All American Team, consisting of the nation's top 10 players, will be announced the week of the "Elite Eight" round of the NCAA Tournament.

The Gophers open the 2011-12 season on Friday, Nov. 11 against the Bucknell Bison at Williams Arena. The game is scheduled to tip at 7:00 p.m. Minnesota will also host a pair of exhibition games, Nov. 1 vs. Bemidji State and Nov. 7 vs. Augustana College. Both games are set to tip at 7:00 p.m.

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 minimum cumulative 2.0 GPA.

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. The Award has also sent more than 1,000 underprivileged children to week-long college basketball camps in the Award's 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 Americans, takes place at The Los Angeles Athletic Club the weekend of the John R. Wooden Award Ceremony.


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