Maric Among 50 Wooden Award Candidates

Nebraska senior center Aleks Maric was among the 50 athletes named to the preseason watch list for the Men's 2007-08 John R. Wooden Award, announced today by The LA Athletic Club's Wooden Award Committee.

The award is named for the three-time college basketball All American, 1932 Player of the Year and 10-time national championship coach at UCLA, and is considered the nation's most coveted college basketball award.

Aleks Maric was previously selected to the preseason All-Big 12 first team by the league's coaches and was named a third-team preseason All-American by Athlon Sports magazine. The 6-11, 275-pounder is the top returning scorer (18.5 ppg) and rebounder (8.7 rpg) in the Big 12 Conference entering 2007-08. He finished last season with career totals of 1,111 points and 680 rebounds, only the second player inNebraska history to top 1,000 points and 600 rebounds before the end of his junior season.  

Maric is one of six players from the Big 12 Conference on the original watch list for the Wooden Award. Other candidates from the league include: Brandon Rush ( Kansas), Mario Chalmers ( Kansas), D.J. Augustin ( Texas ), Joseph Jones (Texas A&M) and Martin Zeno (Texas Tech).  

Two returning Wooden All-Americans made the list, center Tyler Hansbrough of North Carolina and Rush.  Five schools had two players on the list: UCLA (Darren Collison, Josh Shipp), North Carolina (Hansbrough, Ty Lawson), Kansas (Chalmers, Rush), Washington State (Derrick Low, Kyle Weaver), Georgetown (Roy Hibbert, Johnathan Wallace).  More than 100 players received at least one vote.  

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. 

In January, the Wooden Award committee will release the Midseason Top 30 list, followed by the distribution of the National Ballot to more than 1,000 voters in early March. The 10-player Wooden Award All-American Team will be announced the Tuesday after the "Elite Eight" round of the NCAA Tournament is completed.


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