UCLA’s Joshua Smith, Reeves Nelson Make John Wooden Award Preseason Top 50 List

Los Angeles (October 3, 2011)— The Los Angeles Athletic Club has announced its Preseason Top 50 list today on ESPN.com. Chosen by a preseason poll of national college basketball media members, the list is comprised of 50 student-athletes who, based on last year’s individual performance and team records, are the early frontrunners for college basketball’s most prestigious honor.

Ohio State sophomore forward Jared Sullinger was a Wooden Award All American and finalist a year ago after averaging 17.2 points and 10.2 rebounds before opting to return to Columbus for a second season. “The decision made by the Sullinger family, who we enjoyed hosting last year at the Wooden Award, exemplifies Coach Wooden’s ideas of the importance of education,” said Los Angeles Athletic Club President Steve Hathaway. “Coach Wooden would have been so pleased to see so many fine players return to college basketball this year. I expect a competitive year for the Award in 2012.”

Transfers, freshmen and medical redshirts are not eligible for the Preseason list. The players on the Preseason list are considered strong candidates for the Midseason list and the official voting ballot, both of which are open to freshman and transfer students. The National Ballot consists of approximately 20 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.  The Wooden Award All American Team, consisting of the nation’s top 10 players, will be announced the week of the “Elite Eight” round of the NCAA Tournament.

The 36th annual Wooden Award ceremony marks the 25th anniversary of the selection of the Naval Academy’s David Robinson as the Wooden Award winner. The 2012 event will honor the Men’s and Women’s Wooden Award winners, and will include the presentation of the Wooden Award All American Teams and the Legends of Coaching Award. It will take place the weekend of April 6-8, 2012.

For the first time, a school had four players chosen to the Preseason Top 50 when North Carolina returners Harrison Barnes, John Henson, Kendall Marshall and Tyler Zeller were selected. Ohio State (Sullinger, William Buford and Aaron Craft) and Vanderbilt (Festus Ezeli, John Jenkins and Jeffery Taylor) had three players chosen:. Six schools, all perennial top programs at the national level, had two players named to the Preseason List: California (Jorge Gutierrez, Allen Crabbe); Connecticut (Jeremy Lamb, Alex Oriakhi); Memphis (Will Barton, Joe Jackson); Syracuse (Scoop Jardine, Kris Joseph); and UCLA (Reeves Nelson, Joshua Smith).

Nineteen of the 50 players named were from two conferences, the Big East (10) and Big Ten (9). The SEC had seven players chosen, followed by the ACC, Big 12, and Pac-12 each with four; and the Atlantic 10, Big West and Conference USA with two each. Conferences with one players named include the Horizon League, Ivy League, MAAC, Missouri Valley, Mountain West and WCC.

2011-12 John R. Wooden Award Preseason Top 50 List, Men

NameHeightClassPositionUniversityConference
Tim Abromaitis6-8GSFNotre DameBig East
Harrison Barnes6-8So.FNorth CarolinaACC
Will Barton6-6So.GMemphisConference USA
Dee Bost6-2Sr.GMississippi StateSEC
William Buford6-5Sr.GOhio StateBig Ten
Allen Crabbe6-6So.GCaliforniaPac-12
Aaron Craft6-2So.GOhio StateBig Ten
Marcus Denmon6-3Sr.GMissouriBig 12
Festus Ezeli6-11Sr.CVanderbiltSEC
Ashton Gibbs6-2Sr.GPittBig East
Michael Glover6-7Sr.FIonaMAAC
Drew Gordon6-9Sr.FNew MexicoMountain West
Draymond Green6-7Sr.FMichigan StateBig Ten
JaMychal Green6-8Sr.FAlabamaSEC
Jorge Gutierrez6-3Sr.GCaliforniaPac-12
Tim Hardaway, Jr.6-5So.GMichiganBig Ten
Elias Harris6-7Jr.FGonzagaWCC
John Henson6-11Jr.FNorth CarolinaACC
Tu Holloway6-0Sr.GXavierAtlantic 10
Robbie Hummel6-8Sr.FPurdueBig Ten
Joe Jackson6-1So.GMemphisConference USA
Scoop Jardine6-2Sr.GSyracuseBig East
John Jenkins6-3Jr.GVanderbiltSEC
Orlando Johnson6-5Sr.GUCSBBig West
Darius Johnson-Odom6-2Sr.GMarquetteBig East
Kevin Jones6-8Sr.FWest VirginiaBig East
Terrence Jones6-8So.FKentuckySEC
Perry Jones III6-11So.FBaylorBig 12
Kris Joseph6-7Sr.FSyracuseBig East
Jeremy Lamb6-5So.GConnecticutBig East
Kendall Marshall6-4So.GNorth CarolinaACC
Trevor Mbakwe6-8Sr.FMinnesotaBig Ten
Ray McCallum6-1So.GDetroitHorizon League
Doug McDermott6-7So.FCreightonMissouri Valley
Khris Middleton6-7Jr.FTexas A&MBig 12
Reeves Nelson6-8Jr.FUCLAPac-12
Andrew Nicholson6-9Sr.FSt. BonaventureAtlantic 10
Alex Oriakhi6-9Jr.CConnecticutBig East
Thomas Robinson6-9Jr.FKansasBig 12
John Shurna6-9Sr.FNorthwesternBig Ten
Peyton Siva6-0Jr.GLouisvilleBig East
Joshua Smith6-10So.CUCLAPac-12
Jared Sullinger*6-9So.COhio StateBig Ten
Jeffery Taylor6-7Sr.G/FVanderbiltSEC
Jordan Taylor6-1Sr.GWisconsinBig Ten
Casper Ware5-10Sr.GLong Beach StateBig West
Maalik Wayns6-2Jr.GVillanovaBig East
Keith Wright6-8Sr.FHarvardIvy League
Patric Young6-9So.F/CFloridaSEC
Tyler Zeller7-0Sr.FNorth CarolinaACC
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