"This was another year where a lot of players have been surprises," said Duke Llewellyn, Wooden Award chairman. "Players across the nation stepped up and made a case for themselves, whether they were veteran players or freshmen. We look forward to continuing to follow these talented players as we determine the 10 candidates for the Wooden Award All-American Team."
Heading the list are returning Wooden All-Americans Tyler Hansbrough of North Carolina and Brandon Rush of Kansas, whose teams have been ranked in the Top 10 all season. CSTV.com continues to follow the Wooden Award, and its team of experts ranks its own top candidates each week at http://www.cstv.com/sports/m-baskbl/woodenwatch/.
Eleven players have been selected to the midseason Top 30 who were not on the preseason list. This impressive group includes returning players enjoying breakout seasons (Brian Roberts of Dayton, Raymar Morgan of Michigan State, Wayne Ellington of North Carolina, Luke Harangody of Notre Dame and Sam Young of Pittsburgh), and freshmen James Harden of Arizona State, Eric Gordon of Indiana, Michael Beasley of Kansas State, Derrick Rose of Memphis and local stars Kevin Love of UCLA and USC's O.J. Mayo.
Four Top 10 schools have multiple players nominated: North Carolina (Ellington and Hansbrough); Memphis (Chris Douglas-Roberts and Rose); Kansas (Mario Chalmers and Brandon Rush); and Indiana (Gordon and D.J. White).
The Pac-10 (7 players) has the most players chosen to the Wooden Midseason Top 30, followed by the ACC with 5, Big 12 with four, the SEC Big East, and Big 10 with three each, Conference USA with two, and the Atlantic 10, Southern and Metro Atlantic Athletic each with one.
Players who do not make the Midseason list are still eligible for the national ballot, which will be selected in March and will consist of approximately 20 players, chosen by the Wooden Award National Advisory Board Committee, who have proven to their universities that they are also making progress toward graduation and maintaining a cumulative 2.0 GPA.
More than 1,000 voters, comprised of sports media members and college basketball experts from across the nation, will then cast their votes to determine both the 10-member All-American Team and Player of the Year. In late March, the 10-player Wooden Award All-American Team will be announced.
The 2008 Award ceremony, which will include the presentation of the Men's and Women's Wooden Award winners, the Wooden Award All-American Teams, and the Legends of Coaching Award to Pat Summitt of the University of Tennessee, will be held at The Los Angeles Athletic Club the weekend of April 11-12. The 32nd Annual Wooden Award Gala, with a reception and dinner program, will take place the evening of Friday, April 11 at the Sheraton Downtown Los Angeles. On Saturday, April 12, the Wooden Award Announcement and trophy presentation will be televised, followed by a press conference and sponsor reception.
The top five male and female finalists will be invited to Los Angeles for the awards ceremony and will receive a contribution from The Los Angeles Athletic Club for their university's general scholarship fund.