John R. Wooden Award 2008-09 Midseason Top 30 Candidates Announced

Feb. 6, 2009

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Midway through the 2009 college basketball season, the top 30 candidates for the John R. Wooden Award, the nation's most coveted college basketball honor, were named today by The Los Angeles Athletic Club's John R. Wooden Award Committee. Composed of the players who will compete for this season's player of the year award, the midseason list is based on individual player performance and team records during the first half of the season.

'We have nine players on the midseason list who were not on our preseason watch list,' said Wooden Award Chairman Richard 'Duke' Llewellyn. 'That is indicative of the breadth of talent across the country. We look forward to following all of these players as we finish up the conference season and head into the NCAA Tournament.'

Heading the list are returning Wooden Award winner Tyler Hansbrough of North Carolina and Wooden All Americans Stephen Curry of Davidson and Notre Dame's Luke Harangody. Curry leads the nation in scoring at 28.9 ppg and adds 6.5 apg for 19-3 Davidson. Hansbrough, UNC's 6-9 senior, posts averages of 22.4 points and 7.6 rebounds, while shooring 52.9% from the field and 84.6% from the free throw line. Harangody is the nation's No. 4 scorer (25.3 ppg) and No. 3 rebounder (13.2 rpg).

Three teams have multiple players nominated: Connecticut (Jeff Adrien, Hasheem Thabeet), Marquette (Jarel McNeal, Wesley Matthews), and Pittsburgh (DeJuan Blair, Sam Young). Marquette's duo of McNeal (20.0 ppg) and Matthews (19.2 ppg) have led the Golden Eagles to a 20-2 mark so far this season. Thabeet (13.0 ppg, 10.1 rpg) and Adrien (14.3 ppg, 9.9 rpg) have guided their team to the No. 1 national ranking. Pitt's Blair (14.9 ppg, 12.7 rpg) and Young (18.1 ppg, 30-89 3pters) are keeping their team in the Top 5.

The Big East leads the Midseason Top 30, tops among all conferences, with 10 players selected. The Pac-10 and ACC follow with five selections, followed by the SEC and Big 12 with three apiece, the Big Ten with two and the Horizon League and Southern Conference with one selection.

Nine players have been selected to the midseason Top 30 who were not on the preseason list. This impressive group includes the only freshman on the list, Georgetown's 6-11 center Greg Monroe, and eight returning players: Adrien, Manny Harris (Michigan), Jordan Hill (Arizona), Matt Howard (Butler), Kalin Lucas (Michigan State), Matthews, Jodie Meeks (Kentucky), and Jeff Teague (Wake Forest).

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 2009 Award ceremony, which will include the presentation of the Men's and Women's Wooden Award winners and the Legends of Coaching Award to Rick Barnes of the University of Texas, will be held at The Los Angeles Athletic Club the weekend of April 11-12.

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, Tyler Hansbrough of North Carolina and 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) to host the Wooden Award Special Olympics Southern California Basketball Tournament.

For more information on the John R. Wooden Award, please contact Christin Maxwell at 213-630-5231/woodenaward@laac.net or visit www.WoodenAward.com. Media may visit the website or contact Linda Reid at 310-291-9205/lindreid@aol.com.

2009 Wooden Award Midseason Top 30 Candidates

A.J. Abrams, 5-11, G, Sr., Texas
Jeff Adrien, 6-7, F, Sr., Connecticut
DeJuan Blair, 6-7, F, So., Pittsburgh
Jon Brockman, 6-7, F, Sr., Washington
Nick Calathes, 6-6, G/F, So., Florida
Sherron Collins, 5-11, G, Jr., Kansas
Darren Collison, 6-0, G, Sr., UCLA
Stephen Curry#, 6-3, G, Jr., Davidson
Jonny Flynn, 6-0, G, So., Syracuse
Taj Gibson, 6-9, F, Jr., USC
Blake Griffin, 6-10, F, So., Oklahoma
Tyler Hansbrough#!, 6-9, F, Sr., North Carolina
Luke Harangody#, 6-8, F, Jr., Notre Dame
James Harden, 6-4, G, So., Arizona State
Manny Harris, 6-5, G, So., Michigan
Gerald Henderson, 6-4, G/F, Jr., Duke
Jordan Hill, 6-10, F, Jr., Arizona
Matt Howard, 6-7, F, So., Butler
Ty Lawson, 5-11, G, Jr., North Carolina
Kalin Lucas, 6-0, F, So., Michigan State
Wesley Matthews, 6-5, G, Sr., Marquette
Jerel McNeal, 6-3, G, Sr., Marquette
Jodie Meeks, 6-4, G, Jr., Kentucky
Greg Monroe, 6-11, C, Fr., Georgetown
Kyle Singler, 6-8, F, So., Duke
Tyler Smith, 6-7, F, Jr., Tennessee
Jeff Teague, 6-2, G, So., Wake Forest
Hasheem Thabeet, 7-3, C, Jr., Connecticut
Terrence Williams, 6-6, F, Sr., Louisville
Sam Young, 6-6, F, Jr., Pittsburgh

! - 2008 Wooden Award Winner
# - 2008 Wooden All American Team

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