LOS ANGELES, CA (November 14, 2017) - The John R. Wooden® presented by Wendy’s® announced its Preseason Top 50 today on ESPN’s SportsCenter and on ESPN.com. Chosen by a preseason poll of national college basketball experts, the list is comprised of 50 student-athletes who are the early front-runners for college basketball’s most prestigious individual honor.
Returning from the 2016 Wooden Award™ All American Team, Grayson Allen of Duke headlines this year’s Wooden Award Preseason Top 50 list. The list also highlights stars from the 2017 NCAA Tournament: Joel Berry II of the NCAA National Champion North Carolina; Johnathan Williams of NCAA Runner-Up Gonzaga; Arizona’s Rawle Alkins and Allonzo Trier; Butler’s Kelan Martin; Cincinnati’s Jacob Evans; Creighton’s Marcus Foster; Duke’s Allen; Florida’s KeVaughn Allen; Kansas’ Devonte’ Graham; Louisville’s Deng Adel; Miami’s Bruce Brown Jr.; Michigan’s Moritz Wagner; Michigan State’s Miles Bridges; Minnesota’s Nate Mason; Nortwestern’s Bryant McIntosh; Notre Dame’s Bonzie Colson and Matt Farrell; Oklahoma State’s Jeffrey Carroll; Purdue’s Vincent Edwards; Saint Mary’s Jock Landale; Seton Hall’s Angel Delgado; SMU’s Shake Milton; South Dakota State’s Mike Daum; UCLA’s Aaron Holiday; USC’s Jordan McLaughlin and Chimezie Metu; Villanova’s Jalen Brunson; West Virginia’s Jevon Carter; Wichita State’s Landry Shamet; Wisconsin’s Ethan Happ; and Xavier’s Trevon Bluiett.
Several universities boast multiple players on the list: Arizona (Alkins, DeAndre Ayton, and Trier) and Duke (Allen, Marvin Bagley III, and Trevon Duval) lead with three candidates apiece, while Kansas (Graham and Malik Newman), Kentucky (Hamidou Diallo and Kevin Knox), Michigan State (Bridges and Jaren Jackson Jr.), Notre Dame (Colson and Farrell), and USC (McLaughlin and Metu) each have two players on the Preseason Top 50.
The trend of recognizing outstanding freshmen continues with ten named to the list: Arizona’s Ayton, Bagley III and Duval of Duke, Mohamed Bamba of Texas, Kentucky’s Diallo and Knox, Michigan State’s Jackson Jr., Michael Porter Jr. of Missouri, Collin Sexton of Alabama, and Trae Young of Oklahoma.
The Preseason Top 50 list represents 11 conferences. The ACC leads all conferences with 9 selections, followed by the Big Ten, Pac-12, and SEC with 7 selections apiece, Big 12 (6), Big East (5), The American (4). The WCC has two selections and the Atlantic 10, Mountain West, and The Summit League each have one selection.
The players on the list are considered strong candidates for the 2018 John R. Wooden Award Men’s Player of the Year presented by Wendy’s. Players not chosen to the preseason list are eligible for the Wooden Award midseason list, late season list and the National Ballot. The National Ballot consists of 15 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. Nearly 1,000 voters will rank in order 10 of those 15 players, who have been qualified as meeting the standards set forth by Coach Wooden and the Wooden Award Steering Committee. Voting will open prior to the start of the NCAA Tournament and will allow voters to take into consideration performance during early round games. 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.