Hoops: Tucker Up For Wooden Award

Sophomore forward <B>P.J. Tucker has</B> been named one of the top 50 preseason candidates for the 2004-05 John R. Wooden All-American Team. The Wooden Award is the most prestigious individual honor in college basketball. Former UT guard <B>T.J. Ford </B>won the Wooden in 2003.

Tucker is one of six sophomores selected to the preseason list, joining Sean Banks (Memphis), Andrew Bogut (Utah), Chris Paul (Wake Forest), Leon Powe (California) and Charlie Villanueva (UConn). Tucker recently helped Team USA (20-and-under squad) win a gold medal at the 2004 FIBA Americas World Championship for Young Men Qualifying Tournament in Halifax, Canada (July 28-August 1).

Tucker earned honorable mention All-Big 12 Conference honors and was one of five players named to the Big 12 All-Freshman squad last season. He led the team in rebounding (6.8 rpg) and double-doubles (seven) and ranked second on the squad in scoring (10.4 ppg) and field goal percentage (.547). Tucker also earned four Big 12 Rookie of the Week honors, the most by any UT freshman since the inception of the league.

The 2005 Award ceremony will held at the Los Angeles Athletic Club on April 9.

Note: Guard Edgar Moreno has decided to leave the men's basketball team, head coach Rick Barnes announced Friday.

Moreno has been granted an unconditional release from his scholarship.

With freshman All-American point guard Daniel Gibson starting school this month and G Kenton Paulino returning for his junior season, Moreno saw his stock falling and court time dwindling.

"Edgar has a great desire to earn more playing time in the immediate future, and he will have a better opportunity to make that happen at another school," Barnes said. "We wish Edgar nothing but success as he moves forward."

Moreno came to Texas prior to his junior season after spending two years at Lon Morris Junior College. He will have one year of collegiate eligibility remaining.

Moreno played in all 33 games for the Longhorns last season as Paulino's primary backup. Moreno led the team in field goal percentage (.554) and assist-to-turnover ratio (2.89) and ranked second in assists (81). He posted a double-double with 11 points and 10 assists without a turnover in the home victory against Sam Houston State (Nov. 24).

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