James Harden Named Early Frontrunner For John R. Wooden Award

Nov. 8, 2008

Sophomore James Harden came to Tempe last season with the expectations and promise that the honor of being a McDonald's All-American brings. On the eve of his second season in the desert, James has yet to disappoint.

The Wooden Award is the most prestigious honor in college basketball, based on individual performance and team record. Harden is one of eleven sophomores named, and joins four other Pac-10 players, Washington's Jon Brockman, UCLA's Darren Collison, USC's Taj Gibson, and Arizona's Chase Budinger, on the preseason watch list. In all, 42 schools and 13 conferences are represented on the Wooden Award Pre-Season list. The Big East has the most players (12), followed by the ACC (8), Pac-10 (5), SEC (5), Big 12 (5), and Big Ten (3).

In mid-January, the Wooden Award Committee will release the Midseason Top 30 list, followed in March by the National Ballot, consisting of the 20 top players in the country who have proven to their universities that they are also making progress toward graduation and maintaining a cumulative 2.0 GPA. The Wooden Award All-American Team will be announced the week of the 'Elite Eight' round during the NCAA Tournament. The 33rd annual Wooden Award ceremony, which will include the announcement of the Men's and Women's Wooden Award, will be held at The Los Angeles Athletic Club in April, 2009. 
Created in 1976, the John R. Wooden Award 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 such notables as Larry Bird ('79), Michael Jordan ('84), Tim Duncan ('97), and 2007 recipient Kevin Durant of Texas. Candace Parker of Tennessee won the Women's Wooden Award in 2007 and 2008. Since its inception, the John R. Wooden Award has contributed close to a million dollars to universities' general scholarship fund in the names of the All-American recipients as well as sent over 1,000 underprivileged children to week-long college basketball camps in the awards 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-Americans, takes place at The Los Angeles Athletic Club on the Friday prior to the John R. Wooden Award Ceremony.

For more information on the John R. Wooden Award, click on

(Wooden Award Info)

or contact the Wooden Award staff via phone at 213-630-5231 or email at woodenaward@laac.net

2008-2009 John R. Wooden Award
Preseason Top 50 List

A.J. Abrams 5-11 G Sr. Texas 
Wink Adams 6-0 G Sr. UNLV 

DeJuan Blair 6-7 F So. Pittsburgh 
Jon Brockman 6-7 F Sr. Washington 

Derrick Brown 6-8 F Jr. Xavier 
Chase Budinger 6-7 F Jr. Arizona 

Nick Calathes 6-6 G/F So. Florida 
Dionte Christmas 6-5 G Sr. Temple 

Earl Clark 6-9 G/F Jr. Louisville 
Sherron Collins 5-11 G Jr. Kansas 

Darren Collison 6-0 G Sr. UCLA 
Lee Cummard 6-7 G Sr. BYU 

Stephen Curry 6-3 G Jr. Davidson 
Devan Downey 5-9 G Jr. South Carolina 

Robert Dozier 6-9 F Sr. Memphis 
Wayne Ellington 6-4 G Jr. North Carolina 

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 

Gerald Henderson 6-4 G/F Jr. Duke 
 Lester Hudson 6-2 G Sr. Tennessee Martin 

Robbie Hummel 6-8 F So. Purdue 
Stefon Jackson 6-5 G Sr. UTEP 

Dominic James 5-11 G Sr. Marquette Damion James 6-7 G/F Jr. Texas 

Curtis Jerrells 6-1 G Sr. Baylor 
James Johnson 6-8 F So. Wake Forest

Marcus Landry 6-7 F Sr. Wisconsin 
 Ty Lawson 5-11 G Jr. North Carolina

Eric Maynor 6-2 G Sr. VCU 
 Jack McClinton 6-1 G Sr. University of Miami 

Jerel McNeal 6-3 G Sr. Marquette 
Patrick Mills 6-0 G So. Saint Mary's 

Raymar Morgan 6-7 F Jr. Michigan State 
A.J. Ogilvy 6-11 C So. Vanderbilt 

Jeremy Pargo 6-2 G Sr. Gonzaga 
Patrick Patterson 6-8 F So. Kentucky

A.J. Price 6-2 G Sr. Connecticut 
Scottie Reynolds 6-2 G Jr. Villanova

Tyrese Rice 6-1 G Sr. Boston College Kyle Singler 6-8 F So. Duke 

Tyler Smith 6-7 F Jr. Tennessee 
DaJuan Summers 6-8 F Jr. Georgetown 

Hasheem Thabeet 7-3 C Jr. Connecticut 
Robert Vaden 6-5 G/F Sr. UAB 

Terrence Williams 6-6 F Sr. Louisville 
Sam Young 6-6 F Jr. Pittsburgh





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