"Each of these ten players has produced results both on the court and in the classroom, exemplifying all of the qualities that we search for in our All-American team members," said Richard "Duke" Llewellyn, founder and chairman of the Wooden Award. "We feel tremendously proud to have these young men representing the Wooden Award All-American team."
The 2004 All-American team consists of four seniors and six juniors, including Emeka Okafor, the only 2003 Wooden Award All-American. Eight conferences are represented on the All-American squad with the Big 12 and Big East leading the way with two players apiece. The ACC, Atlantic 10, Big Ten, SEC, West Coast Conference and Pac 10 each follow with one nominated player. Three Wooden Award finalists (Duhon, Lucas and Okafor) have led their respective teams to this weekend's Final Four in San Antonio.
A panel of over 1,000 voters comprised of media members and college basketball experts from around the nation submitted their votes over the past three weeks. Voters were asked to select ten players from the 20 student-athletes listed on the official ballot, and rank them from 1 to 10. While other player of the year awards are voted upon prior to postseason play, the Wooden Award opts for the later March 29 deadline because it allows voters to evaluate players during the NCAA tournament. Voters were also asked to make their selections based on each candidate's character and academic performance, essential components to an outstanding player in the eyes of Coach John Wooden, the Award's namesake.
The 2004 Award ceremony, which will include the presentation of the Wooden Award All-American Team, the inaugural Women's Wooden Award and the presentation of the Legends of Coaching Award to Stanford Coach Mike Montgomery, will be held at The Los Angeles Athletic Club on Saturday, April 10. The top five finalists will be invited to Los Angeles for the Awards ceremony and will receive a contribution from the John R. Wooden Award Scholarship Fund in their name to their university's general scholarship fund.
The John R. Wooden Award Scholarship Fund was established by Wooden Award sponsor Applied Materials through the California Community Foundation to honor Coach Wooden's dedication as a teacher and mentor. Applied Materials distributed $15,000 last year to each university represented by a Wooden Award All-American Team finalist (Kansas, Marquette, Oklahoma, Texas and Xavier) for a total of $75,000. Additional donations to Applied Materials' John R. Wooden Award Scholarship Fund can be made by contacting the scholarship fund through the CCF (www.calfund.org).
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 university that he is making progress toward graduation and maintaining a cumulative 2.00 GPA. Previous winners include such notables as Michael Jordan ('84), Larry Bird ('79), Tim Duncan ('97) and last year's recipient, T.J. Ford ('03). Tabulation for all voting is calculated by Deloitte & Touche.