Only two all-Americans on list
LOS ANGELES -- Mississippi State's Lawrence Roberts and Providence's Ryan Gomes, two players who declared for the NBA draft and then withdrew, are the only all-Americans returning for another college basketball season who made the John Wooden Award preseason top 50 list.
The Wooden Award doesn't let its national advisory board vote for freshmen or transfers in the preseason list. Those players are eligible for the midseason top 30.
The list, released Thursday, encompasses 10 conferences, including the ACC (12 players), Big East (8), Big 12 (6), Pac-10 (6), Big Ten (5), SEC (5), CUSA (5), WCC (1), MWC (1) and America East (1).
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 university that he is making progress toward graduation and maintaining a cumulative 2.0 grade point average. Previous winners include such notables as Larry Bird ('79), Michael Jordan ('84) and Tim Duncan ('97). Jameer Nelson ('04) of Saint Joseph's was last year's recipient.
The top five male and female finalists will receive a contribution from the John R. Wooden Award Scholarship Fund in their name to their university's general scholarship fund. The Wooden Award scholarship fund was established in 2002 by Applied Materials and corporate partners through the California Community Foundation (CCF) to honor Coach Wooden's dedication as an educator and mentor. Applied Materials distributed $15,000 last year to each university represented by a men's and women's Wooden Award All-American Team finalist (for a total of $150,000).
The complete list of the preseason top 50:
|Preseason Wooden 50|
|Paul Davis||6-11||Jr.||C||Michigan State|
|Ike Diogu||6-8||Jr.||F||Arizona State|
|B.J. Elder||6-4||Sr||G/F||Georgia Tech|
|Raymond Felton||6-0||Jr.||G||North Carolina|
|Torin Francis||6-10||Jr.||F/C||Notre Dame|
|Joey Graham||6-7||Sr.||F||Oklahoma State|
|Justin Gray||6-2||Jr.||G||Wake Forest|
|Julius Hodge||6-6||Sr.||G||N.C. State|
|Jarrett Jack||6-3||Jr.||G||Georgia Tech|
|John Lucas Jr.||5-11||Sr.||G||Oklahoma State|
|Sean May||6-9||Jr.||F/C||North Carolina|
|Rashad McCants||6-3||Jr.||F||North Carolina|
|Chris Paul||6-0||Soph.||G||Wake Forest|
|Lawrence Roberts*||6-9||Sr.||F||Mississippi State|
|Luke Schenscher||7-1||Sr.||C||Georgia Tech|
|Craig Smith||6-7||Jr.||F||Boston College|
|Chris Thomas||6-1||Sr.||G||Notre Dame|
* Indicates player was a 2003-04 John R. Wooden Award All-American.
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