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Wooden Award release | January 11, 2018

25 named to John R. Wooden Award midseason list

  Mississippi State's McCowan (l) and Vivians (r) are two of the 25 listed on the Wooden Award midseason list.

LOS ANGELES, CA – The Los Angeles Athletic Club has announced its John R. Wooden Award® presented by Wendy’s® Midseason Top 25 on Chosen by a poll of national college basketball experts based on their performances during the first half of the 2017-18 season, the list comprises of 25 student-athletes who are front-runners for the sport’s most prestigious honor.

On the 2018 Wooden Award Midseason Top 25 list, three players debut on the Wooden Watch™ after not being named on the Preseason Top 30: Chennedy Carter of Texas A&M, Megan Gustafson of Iowa, and Teaira McCowan of Mississippi State. Five schools have multiple players on the list, led by Connecticut with four selections (Napheesa Collier, Kia Nurse, Katie Lou Samuelson, and Gabby Williams), followed by four schools with two selections each: Mississippi State (McCowan and Victoria Vivians), Tennessee (Jaime Nared and Mercedes Russell), Texas (Ariel Atkins and Brooke McCarty), and UCLA (Monique Billings and Jordin Canada). Following a recent trend, 23 of the 25 student-athletes on the Midseason Top 25 are upperclassmen, including 14 seniors.

The SEC leads all conferences with seven selections on the Midseason Top 25, followed by the ACC, Pac-12, and The American with four selections apiece, and the Big 12 and Big Ten with three each.

The players on the list are considered strong candidates for the 2018 John R. Wooden Award presented by Wendy’s. The leading candidates will be further pared to 20 top players in early February. Fifteen top players who have proven to their universities that they are also making progress toward graduation and maintaining at least a cumulative 2.0 GPA will be submitted to voters on the Final Ballot prior to the NCAA Tournament. Every year, players have made the Final Ballot that were not on the preseason or midseason lists. Voters are permitted to take into consideration the opening rounds of the NCAA Tournament when casting the ballot. The Wooden Award All American Team™ will be announced the week of the “Elite Eight” round of the NCAA Tournament. The winner of the 2018 John R. Wooden Award will be presented during the ESPN College Basketball Awards presented by Wendy’s on Friday, April 6, 2018.

Name School  Conference Height  Class Position
Kristine Anigwe California Pac-12 6-4 Junior Center/Forward
Ariel Atkins Texas Big 12 5-11 Senior Guard
Monique Billings UCLA Pac-12 6-4 Senior Forward
Kalani Brown Baylor Big 12 6-7 Junior Center
Lexie Brown Duke ACC 5-9 Senior Guard
Jordin Canada UCLA Pac-12 5-6 Senior Guard
Chennedy Carter Texas A&M SEC 5-7 Freshman Guard
Napheesa Collier* Connecticut America 6-1 Junior Forward
Sophie Cunningham Missouri SEC 6-1 Junior Guard
Asia Durr Louisville ACC 5-10 Junior Guard
Katelynn Flaherty Michigan Big Ten 5-7 Senior Guard
Megan Gustafon Iowa  Big Ten 6-3 Junior Forward
Sabrina Ionescu Oregon Pac-12 5-11 Sophomore Guard
Brooke McCarty Texas Big 12 5-4 Senior Guard
Teaira McCowan Mississippi State SEC 6-7 Junior Center
Kelsey Mitchell* Ohio State Big Ten 5-8 Senior Guard
Jaime Nared Tennessee SEC 6-2 Senior Guard/Forward
Kia Nurse Connecticut American 6-0 Senior Guard
Arike Ogunbowale Notre Dame ACC 5-8 Junior Guard
Mercedes Russell Tennessee SEC 6-6 Senior Center
Katie Lou Samuelson* Connecticut American 6-3 Junior Guard/Forward
Shakayla Thomas Florida State ACC 5-11 Senior Forward
Victoria Vivians Mississippi State SEC 6-1 Senior Guard
Gabby Williams Connecticut American 5-11 Senior Forward
A'ja Wilson* South Carolina SEC 6-5 Senior Forward

*indicates player selected as a 2016-17 Wooden Award All American

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 basketball player at an NCAA Division I university who has proven to his or her university that he or she is making progress towards graduation and maintaining a minimum cumulative 2.0 GPA. Previous winners include Larry Bird (’79), Michael Jordan (’84), Tim Duncan (’97), and last year’s recipients, Kelsey Plum of Washington and Frank Mason III of Kansas.

Since its inception, the John R. Wooden Award has contributed nearly one million dollars to the universities’ general scholarship fund in the names of the Wooden Award All-American recipients and has sent more than 1,000 underprivileged children to week-long college basketball camps. Additionally, the John R. Wooden Award partners with the Special Olympics Southern California (SOSC) each year to host the Wooden Award Special Olympics Southern California Basketball Tournament. The day-long tournament brings together Special Olympics athletes and Wooden Award All-Americans and coaches in attendance. It is hosted at the Los Angeles Athletic Club during the John R. Wooden Award Weekend.

The Legends of Coaching Award will be presented during the 4th Annual ESPN College Basketball Awards presented by Wendy’s, which will take place on Friday, April 6, 2018. For up-to-date information on the Wooden Award, please go to and follow the Wooden Award on Facebook and @WoodenAward on Twitter and Instagram.

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