March 18, 2007
LOS ANGELES - The John R. Wooden Award announced last week that for the first time in the 31 year history of the award, college basketball fans are able to cast their vote for the Wooden Award Player of the Year. In just a week, over 19,000 fans have voiced their opinions through text messaging and online voting at WoodenAward.com.
All fan votes will be tabulated and counted as one ballot towards the actual final tally. Fans who submit votes via text messaging will be entered into a sweepstakes to win a VIP experience for two at the Wooden Award Presentation Gala. The Wooden Watch is your source to track the fan vote for Wooden Award player of the year as well as an inside look at the award candidates. Inform your friends and fellow fans that they can stay up-to-date as well by signing up for the "Wooden Watch" at www.WoodenAward.com.
The John R. Wooden Award Committee today announced the 22 student-athletes named to the official voting ballot for the 2006-2007 Wooden Award All-American Team and Wooden Award Player of the Year, presented annually to the nation's top collegiate basketball player. The winner will be announced on Saturday, April 7, live during a national telecast on CBS from The Los Angeles Athletic Club.
The National Ballot includes 2005-2006 Wooden Award All-American Glen Davis (LSU) who is having another fine season for the Tigers averaging 18.1 ppg and 10.5 rpg. Along with Davis there are three other exceptional players that were in the running for last year's Wooden Award. Nick Fazekas (Nevada) has had an incredible season averaging 20.9 ppg and 11.4 rpg and has lead the Wolf Pack to a 26-2 overall record. Chris Lofton (Tennessee) has proven himself to be one of the deadliest shooters in all of college basketball converting on 42% of his 3 point field goal attempts. During his second season, Tyler Hansbrough (North Carolina) has been a force inside averaging 18.6 ppg and 7.7 rpg.
In total, nine seniors, nine juniors, two sophomores and two freshmen were selected to the National Ballot. Freshmen appear on the National Ballot for only the second time in Wooden Award history (Hansbrough, 2005-2006). This year, freshmen Kevin Durant of Texas and Greg Oden of Ohio State appear on the ballot. Each player has matured quickly and is having great seasons for their respective teams. Durant has often dominated for Texas and currently leads the Big 12 Conference in scoring (24.9 ppg) and rebounding (11.5 rpg). Oden has proved himself to be a force inside for the Buckeyes leading the Big Ten Conference in rebounding (9.5 rpg), field goal percentage (60.9%), and blocked shots (3.55 bpg).
"Perhaps more than ever, The Wooden Award National Advisory Board had an extremely tough task narrowing the list to the top 22 student-athletes," said Duke Llewellyn, Wooden Award chairman. "We are extremely excited to watch these fine players perform over the next few weeks as we determine The Wooden Award All-American Team and the Player of the Year."
Eight NCAA conferences are represented on the ballot, including the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Big East, Pac-10, SEC, WAC and the Horizon League. The best represented conferences include the Big 12 and SEC with five candidates and the ACC and Big Ten, with four and three candidates, respectively. Defending national champion Florida with three (Taurean Green, Corey Brewer, and Joakim Noah) is the only team with more than one student athlete on the ballot.
A panel of over 1,000 voters comprised of sports media members and college basketball experts from around the nation will have until 3 p.m. EST on Monday, March 26 to cast their votes for both the 10-member All-American Team and Wooden Award recipient as the most outstanding collegiate basketball player in the United States.
For the first time in Wooden Award history, college basketball fans will be able to cast their vote for the Wooden Award Player of the Year. All fan votes will be tabulated and counted as one ballot towards the actual final tally. Fans will have the option of voting on WoodenAward.com or by text messaging from their cell phones. All fans who submit votes will be entered into a sweepstakes to win a VIP experience for two at the Wooden Award Presentation Gala. This information and more are available at WoodenAward.com.
On Tuesday, March 27, the 10-player Wooden Award All-American Team will be announced. The 2007 Award ceremony, which will include the presentation of the Men's and Women's Wooden Award, the Wooden Award All-American Teams, and the Legends of Coaching Award to recipient Gene Keady of Purdue University, will be held at The Los Angeles Athletic Club on April 7, 2007. The top five male and female finalists will be invited to Los Angeles for the awards ceremony and will receive a contribution from The Los Angeles Athletic Club for their university's general scholarship fund.
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 player at an institution of higher education who has proven to his or her university that he or she is making progress toward graduation and maintaining a cumulative 2.0 GPA. Previous winners include such notables as Larry Bird ('79), Michael Jordan ('84), Tim Duncan ('97), Andrew Bogut ('05), and last year's recipients, Seimone Augustus ('06) and J.J. Redick ('06).
Since its inception, the John R. Wooden Award has contributed close to a million dollars to universities' general scholarship fund in the names of the All-American recipients as well as sent over 1,000 underprivileged children to week-long college basketball camps in the awards name. Additionally, the John R. Wooden Award partners with Special Olympics Southern California (SOSC) each year to host the Wooden Award Special Olympics Southern California Basketball Tournament. The day-long tournament, which brings together Special Olympic athletes and the All-American selections, takes place at The Los Angeles Athletic Club on the Friday prior to the John R. Wooden Award Ceremony.