Ike Diogu Named Wooden Award Preaseason All-American

Aug. 7, 2003

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LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- After tallying the ballots of the National Preseason Selection Committee, the John R. Wooden Award announced the Wooden Award Preseason All-American Team 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. Arizona State sophomore men's basketball player Ike Diogu is one of the 50 student-athletes named to the team.

Diogu had an exceptional freshman season which saw him earn Pac-10 Freshman of the Year honors in addition to AP Honorable Mention All-American acclaim. He had one of the best freshman seasons in Pac-10 history, notching double digits in all 32 games and recording less than 15 points just six times. He averaged 19.9 points and 9.6 rebounds in the final 14 games and had 12 20-point games and seven double-doubles. He was the only Pac-10 player who ranked in the league's top five in scoring and rebounding as he finished third in scoring (19.0 ppg.) and fifth in rebounding (7.8 rpg.).

Only returning players are eligible for the Wooden Award Preseason Team, although transfers and freshmen as well as other players who excel throughout the season will be evaluated and considered for the Midseason Top 30 list and the National Ballot.

'The Preseason Selection Committee had a tough chore in preparing this list because there are so many new faces this year,' said Duke Llewellyn, Wooden Award chairman. 'We are eager for the new season to get underway so that we can see which of these players will emerge as the most dominant in college basketball.'

Ten NCAA conferences are represented, including the Big East (11 players), Big 12 (10 players), Pac 10 (7 players), Big 10, (5 players), ACC (5 players), SEC (4 players), Conference USA (3 players), Atlantic 10 (2 players), West Coast Conference (2 players), and the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (1 player). Several teams stand out with two nominations apiece including Michigan State, Duke, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Arizona, Connecticut, Missouri, Kansas, Florida, Syracuse, Texas, and Gonzaga. Each of last year's Final Four teams boasts at least one representative on the Preseason Team including Syracuse (Gerry McNamara and Hakim Warrick), Texas (James Thomas and Brandon Mouton), Kansas (Wayne Simien and Keith Langford) and Marquette (Travis Diener).

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 university that he is making progress toward graduation and maintaining a cumulative 2.0 GPA. Previous winners include such notables as Michael Jordan ('84), Larry Bird ('79), Tim Duncan ('97) and last year's recipient, T.J. Ford ('03).

The 2004 Award ceremony, which will include the presentation of the Wooden Award All-American team and the presentation of the Legends of Coaching Award, will be held at The Los Angeles Athletic Club on Saturday, April 10, 2004 and will be broadcast live on a CBS telecast.

The top five finalists will receive a contribution from the John R. Wooden Award Scholarship Fund in their name to their university's general scholarship fund. The Wooden Award scholarship fund was established in 2002 by Applied Materials and corporate partners through the California Community Foundation (CCF) to honor Coach Wooden's dedication as an educator. The scholarship fund distributed a total of $75,000 to five universities last year, enabling 23 deserving students to pursue their educational goals. Anyone interested may contribute directly to the scholarship fund through the CCF (www.calfund.org).

For more information on the John R. Wooden Award, please contact Julia McQueen at 310-578-7050 or via email at mcqueen@formulapr.com, or visit www.woodenaward.com.

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