LOS ANGELES, CA – The Los Angeles Athletic Club has announced its John R. Wooden Award® presented by Wendy’s® Midseason Top 25 on espnW.com. 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.
|Ariel Atkins||Texas||Big 12||5-11||Senior||Guard|
|Kalani Brown||Baylor||Big 12||6-7||Junior||Center|
|Chennedy Carter||Texas A&M||SEC||5-7||Freshman||Guard|
|Katelynn Flaherty||Michigan||Big Ten||5-7||Senior||Guard|
|Megan Gustafon||Iowa||Big Ten||6-3||Junior||Forward|
|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|
|Arike Ogunbowale||Notre Dame||ACC||5-8||Junior||Guard|
|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|
|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 www.woodenaward.com and follow the Wooden Award on Facebook and @WoodenAward on Twitter and Instagram.