A Look at the Wooden Award Midseason Top 25

1/26/14 in NCAABB   |   EdIsaacson   |   15 respect

Blog Photo - A Look at the Wooden Award Midseason Top 25

On Wednesday, the Midseason Top 25 for the John R. Wooden Award was released. The list of players includes:

Kyle Anderson, UCLA
Keith Appling, Michigan State
Cameron Bairstow, New Mexico
Jordan Clarkson, Missouri
Aaron Craft, Ohio State
Sam Dekker, Wisconsin
Cleanthony Early, Wichita State
Tyler Ennis, Syracuse
CJ Fair, Syracuse
Aaron Gordon, Arizona
Rodney Hood, Duke
Nick Johnson, Arizona
DeAndre Kane, Iowa State
Doug McDermott, Creighton
Shabazz Napier, Connecticut
Jabari Parker, Duke
Adreian Payne, Michigan State
Casey Prather, Florida
Julius Randle, Kentucky
Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State
Russ Smith, Louisville
TJ Warren, North Carolina State
Andrew Wiggins, Kansas
Chaz Williams, Massachusetts
Joseph Young, Oregon
The eventual winner does not have to come from this list, but the chances are they are among this group.  There are five players in total from the three remaining unbeaten teams – two each for Syracuse and Arizona, and one for Wichita State.  There are five freshmen, five sophomores, three juniors, and twelve seniors on the list.
It is obvious from looking at the list that offensive contributions are valued more than defense. Only one player on the list, Julius Randle, averages more than ten rebounds per game, and only one, Aaron Craft, averages less than ten points per game.
There are still two months left until the award is decided, but is fairly easy to eliminate most of the list. Most, if not all, of the freshmen will be among the finalists, with Andrew Wiggins being the likely winner if the award is given to a freshman. Only two freshmen have won the award over the past ten years, Anthony Davis (2012) and Kevin Durant (2007).
Marcus Smart was considered by many to be the favorite at the beginning of the season, and with a solid, yet unspectacular season, so far, he should be among the finalists as well.
Much has been made about a few omissions from the list, namely Kansas freshman Joel Embiid, San Diego State senior Xavier Thames, Michigan sophomore Nik Stauskas, and Michigan State sophomore Gary Harris. As I mentioned before, the Midseason list does not keep one from being among the finalists. Last season, Victor Oladipo wasn’t on the Midseason list, but finished second to Trey Burke on the final ballot.
With two months to go though, there does seem to be a clear frontrunner for the award, Creighton senior Doug McDermott. Not only is McDermott one of the top scorers in the country, but he has been a vital part of the emergence of the Creighton team on national level.  Plus, it doesn’t hurt that McDermott has been very well-regarded by the media and the basketball community over the past few years. Whether it is given to him this year for a spectacular season performance or as a nod to a great four years, it is hard to find anyone who would argue against it.
The next list will be presented as the Wooden Award All American Team, done during the week of the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament, with the winner of the award being presented during Final Four Weekend.
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