LOS ANGELES, CA –– The Los Angeles Athletic Club has announced its John R. Wooden Award presented by Wendy’s Late Season Top 20 on espnW. 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 20 student-athletes who are currently the front-runners for the sport’s most prestigious honor and the John R. Wooden Award All America Team.On the Late Season Top 20 list, all 20 student-athletes have appeared on the Wooden Watch on the Midseason Top 25. Connecticut leads all schools with four selections on the list: Napheesa Collier, Kia Nurse, Katie Lou Samuelson and Gabby Williams. Mississippi State is the only other school with multiple players on the list (Teaira McCowan and Victoria Vivians). The ACC, SEC, and The American lead all conferences with four selections each; followed by the Big Ten and Pac-12 with three selections apiece; and the Big 12 with two selections. Nineteen of the 20 players selected for this list are upperclassmen, including 10 seniors.
RELATED: Men's Wooden Top 20 list announced
Players not appearing on this list are still eligible for the National Ballot, which will be announced in early March and will consist of 15 top players. Prior to being listed on the National Ballot, each player must be certified by their university to meet the qualifications for the Award, including: candidates must be a full-time student making progress toward graduation and have a cumulative 2.00 grade point average since enrolling in their school; candidates must exhibit strength of character, both on and off the court; candidates should contribute to team effort; candidates must excel in both offense and defense; and candidates should be considered based on their performance over the course of the entire season. Players not listed on the National Ballot will no longer be eligible for the Wooden Award nor the John R. Wooden Award All America Team. Voting begins at the end of the season, and voters, consisting of 1,000 members of the national college basketball media, will take into account the opening rounds of the NCAA Tournament.
About the John R. Wooden Award
The 42nd annual presentation of the John R. Wooden Award to men’s and women’s most outstanding basketball player will be the anchor presentation of the ESPN College Basketball Awards presented by Wendy’s on ESPN2 on Friday, April 6, 2018. The men’s and women’s John R. Wooden Award All American Teams will be honored during the ceremony, and the 2018 Wooden Award Legends of Coaching Trophy will be presented to Jay Wright, Head Men’s Basketball Coach at Villanova.
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), Candace Parker (’07 & ’08), Maya Moore (’09 & ’11), 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.
For up-to-date information on the Wooden Award, please go to www.woodenaward.com and follow the Wooden Award on Facebook at www.facebook.com/woodenaward and @WoodenAward on Twitter and Instagram.
|Ariel Atkins||Texas||Big 12||5-11||Sr.||G|
|Kalani Brown||Baylor||Big 12||6-7||Jr.||C/F|
|Napheesa Collier*||Connecticut||American Athletic||6-1||Jr.||F|
|Katelynn Flaherty||Michigan||Big Ten||5-7||Sr.||G|
|Megan Gustatson||Iowa||Big Ten||6-3||Jr.||F|
|Teaira McCowan||Mississippi State||SEC||6-7||Jr.||C/F|
|Kelsey Mitchell*||Ohio State||Big Ten||5-8||Sr.||G|
|Kia Nurse||Connecticut||American Athletic||6-0||Sr.||G|
|Arike Ogunbowale||Notre Dame||ACC||5-8||Jr.||G|
|Katie Lou Samuelson||Connecticut||American Athletic||6-3||Jr.||G/F|
|Shakalya Thomas||Florida State||ACC||5-11||Sr.||F|
|Victoria Vivians||Mississippi State||SEC||6-1||Sr.||G|
|Gabby Williams||Connecticut||American Athletic||5-11||Sr.||F|
|A'ja Wilson*||South Carolina||SEC||6-5||Sr.||F|
* indicates player selected as a 2016-17 Wooden Award All American