UW's Nate Robinson is Wooden Award Nominee
Aug. 20, 2004
LOS ANGELES - University of Washington junior Nate Robinson has been selected to the preseason list of candidates for the 2005 John R. Wooden All-America Team, Wooden Award chairman Duke Llewellyn announced.A national poll was conducted to choose the top 50 candidates who will be evaluated and considered for the mid-season top 30 list, the 10-man All-America Team and the Wooden Award that honors the nation's best player.A 5-foot-9 guard, Robinson is the first UW player on the Wooden Award preseason watch list since Todd MacCulloch in 1999.In mid-January, the Wooden Award committee will release the mid-season top 30 list, an announcement that will be televised on CBS Sports. On March 29, 2005 the 10-player Wooden Award All-America Team will be announced on CBS. The 2005 awards ceremony, which will include the presentation of the men's and women's Wooden Award, the Wooden All-America Team and the Legends of Coaching Award, will be held at the Los Angeles Athletic Club on April 9, 2005 and will be broadcast live on a national CBS telecast.The top five male and female finalists will receive a contribution from the John R. Wooden Award Scholarship Fund in their name to the 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 legendary UCLA Coach John Wooden's dedication as an educator and mentor.'With so much player movement in the off season, the Committee had quite a task in nominating these candidates from a wide selection of tremendous players,' said Llewellyn. 'This list represents the elite of college basketball and our entire team at the Wooden Award is excited to see the best players in the nation battle it out in order to prove their case as basketball's player of the year.'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 a university who has proven to his school that he is making progress toward graduation and maintaining a cumulative 2.0 grade point average. Previous winners include such notables as Michael Jordan (1984), Larry Bird (1979), Tim Duncan (1997) and last year's recipient, Jameer Nelson (2004).Robinson is one of six Pac-10 players on the Wooden Award list, including Arizona State's Ike Diogu, California's Leon Powe and Stanford's Chris Hernandez along with Arizona's Channing Frye and Salim Stoudamire.Along with those Pac-10 players, the Huskies will face several other Wooden Award nominees this season during non-conference play. Washington meets Utah and 7-foot center Andrew Bogut in their Nov. 25 Great Alaska Shootout opener. In Anchorage, the Huskies could also meet Oklahoma's Kevin Bookout or Alabama's Kennedy Winston. On Dec. 1, the Huskies visit Gonzaga and Wooden candidate Ronny Turiaf and on Dec. 19 they host North Carolina State and Julius Hodge.Ten NCAA conferences are represented, including the ACC (12 players), Big East (8), Big 12 (6), Pac-10 (6), Big 10 (5), SEC (5), Conference USA (5), West Coast (1) Mountain West (1) and the American East (1).Robinson made himself available for the 2004 NBA Draft, but withdrew on June 17 to preserve his collegiate eligibility. Before withdrawing, he attended the pre-draft camp in Chicago from June 8-10 where he was evaluated by NBA scouts and general managers from whom he received feedback. At the pre-draft camp, Robinson had a 22-point performance on the first day. It was the highest single-game output by any of the 59 participants during the three-day playing sessions.Robinson earned first-team All-Pacific-10 Conference acclaim in 2004, leading UW and ranking 13th among Pac-10 players with 13.2 points per game. He led the team and was among the conference leaders in steals (53), 3-point percentage (35.4%) and free throw accuracy (85.3%).With the return of Robinson for his junior year, the Huskies have their entire starting lineup back from last season's Pac-10 runner-up and NCAA Tournament qualifier. The top seven scorers return for Washington, which registered a 19-12 record in 2004 and participated in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in five years.The 12-6 conference record and second-place Pac-10 finish were the Huskies' best performances since 1986. The campaign was highlighted by a 75-62 upset of top-ranked and previously undefeated Stanford on March 6 in Seattle and a sweep of three games over highly ranked Arizona. UW's stellar season ended with a 102-100 loss to UAB in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, a game in which Robinson led all scorers with 27 points.Robinson amassed a career-high 31 points on 11-of-15 shooting and added five rebounds and five steals during the Huskies' 96-83 home win over No. 9 Arizona on Jan. 29. That effort helped him receive the Feb. 2 Pac-10 Player of the Week award.In his first season, Robinson was named to the 2003 All-Pac-10 Freshman Team after leading the Huskies with a 13.0-point scoring average. He joined the basketball team after competing as a freshman in 2002 on the Husky football team. He played in all 13 football games, including the Sun Bowl, and started the final six at cornerback.