Lofton, Tyler on Wooden list

LOS ANGELES – The 2008 John R. Wooden Award ballot was announced today at The Los Angeles Athletic Club by John R. Wooden Award Chairman Richard "Duke" Llewellyn. The Wooden Award winner will be announced on Saturday, April 12, during a special ceremony at The Los Angeles Athletic Club.

A panel of more than 1,000 voters, comprised of sports media members and college basketball experts from around the nation, have until 3 p.m. EST on Monday, March 31 to cast their votes, a long voting period that allows voters to evaluate players up through games of the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament. All players on the ballots have proven to their universities that they are making progress toward graduation and are maintaining a cumulative 2.0 GPA.

Two returning Wooden All-Americans, both of whom lead Top 5 teams, were chosen to the men's ballot: No. 1-ranked North Carolina's 6-10 Tyler Hansbrough and No. 5 Kansas' Brandon Rush. Hansbrough leads the ACC in scoring (23.1 points) and rebounding (10.5 rebounds), while the 6-6 Rush averages 12.3 points and 5.0 rebounds from the guard position for the Jayhawks, who have clinched at least a share of the Big 12 title.

Four schools have two players on the ballot: Indiana (D.J. White and Eric Gordon), Tennessee (Chris Lofton and Tyler Smith), UCLA (Kevin Love and Darren Collison), and Memphis (Chris Douglas-Roberts and Derrick Rose). Six seniors and seven freshmen made the list. The Pac-10 Conference had five balloted players, followed by the SEC with four, the Big Ten, Big East and Big 12 with 3, the ACC and Conference USA with 2, and the Missouri Valley and Southern with one.

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 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.

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

Since its inception, the John R. Wooden Award has contributed nearly one million dollars to universities' general scholarship fund in the names of the All-American recipients and has 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-American players, takes place at The Los Angeles Athletic Club on the Friday of the John R. Wooden Award weekend.

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