Named Top-50 Candidate

Oregon guard Malik Hairston among the top 50 preseason candidates for the Men's 2007-08 John R. Wooden Award as announced by The Los Angeles Athletic Club's Wooden Award Committee today in Los Angeles.

Hairston, 6-6, is playing his senior season at Oregon even though he has already graduated from the university. He averaged 11.3 points per game last year on a team that finished the year 29-8, winning the Pac-10 Tournament and making it to the Elite Eight before losing to eventual NCAA Champion Florida.

The Political Science major is one of a list that 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.

The 2008 Award ceremony, which will include the presentation of the Men's and Women's John R. Wooden Award, the Wooden Award All-American Teams, and the Legends of Coaching Award to recipient Pat Summitt of the University of Tennessee, will be held at The Los Angeles Athletic Club the weekend of April 11-13, 2008. The top five male and female finalists will be invited to Los Angeles for the Award's ceremony and will receive a contribution from The Los Angeles Athletic Club for their university's general scholarship fund. One of these five players will be named the John R. Wooden Award Player of the Year at a live televised announcement from The Club where he is awarded the prestigious five-figured bronze trophy.

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 cumulative 2.0 GPA. Previous winners include such notables as Larry Bird ('79), Michael Jordan ('84), Tim Duncan ('97), and last year's recipients, Kevin Durant of Texas and Candace Parker of Tennessee.

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, as well as sent over 1,000 underprivileged children to week-long college basketball camps in the awards 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-American selections, takes place at The Los Angeles Athletic Club on the Friday prior to the John R. Wooden Award Ceremony.


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