Oct. 4, 2010
LOS ANGELES - Washington State University men's basketball junior Klay Thompson is one of 50 preseason candidates for the 2010-11 John R. Wooden Award, The Los Angeles Athletic Club announced Monday.
A native of Ladera Ranch, Calif., Thompson earned All-Pac-10 First Team honors as a sophomore after being named to the all-freshman team in his rookie season. The Cougars' leading scorer, Thompson became the third fastest and 31st overall Cougar to reach 1,000 career points. Thompson accomplished the feat in just 63 games and finished his sophomore season with 1,023 points in 64 games. He was third in the conference and in the top-30 in the nation with a team-best and league second-best 19.6 points per game, along with a team second-best 5.1 rebounds an outing.
Thompson is the first Cougar to make the list since Derrick Low and Kyle Weaver were both named to the preseason top-50 prior to the 2007-08 season. Low went on to make the midseason top-30 cut. This season's preseason list contains student-athletes from 11 different conferences, including six from the Pacific-10 Conference. Thompson is joined by Ty Abbott (Arizona State), Tyler Honeycutt (UCLA), Isaiah Thomas (Washington), Nikola Vucevic (USC) and Derrick Williams (Arizona).
"I know it's an honor for Klay to be recognized as one of the top college basketball players in the country," Washington State Head Coach Ken Bone said. "It's much deserved."
The Big Ten leads the way with 10 student-athletes represented, followed by the ACC (eight), Big East (seven), Big 12 (seven), Pac-10 (six), SEC (three), Atlantic 10 (three), Mountain West (two), West Coast (two) and Conference USA and the Horizon League with one apiece.
Four student-athletes are making at least their second appearance on the Wood Award ballot, including seniors Kyle Singler (Duke/2009, 2010), Robbie Hummel (Purdue/2008, 2010), Kalin Lucas (Michigan State/2009, 2010) and Jimmer Fredette (BYU/2010).
Transfers, freshmen and medical redshirts are not eligible for the preseason list. These players and others who excel throughout the season will be evaluated and considered for December's Midseason List and the official voting ballot released in March. The National Ballot consists of approximately 20 top players who have proven their universities that they are also making progress toward graduation and maintaining at least a cumulative 2.0 grade point average. The Wooden Award All-American Team will be announced the week of the `Elite Eight' round of the NCAA Tournament.
The 35th annual Wooden Award ceremony, which will include the announcement of the Men's and Women's Wooden Award winners, a special tribute to Coach Wooden and Wooden Award founder Duke Llewellyn, and the presentation of the Wooden Award All-American Teams and the Legends of Coaching Award, will take place the weekend of April 8-10, 2011.
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 minimum cumulative 2.0 grade point average. Previous winners include such notables as Larry Bird ('79), Michael Jordan ('84), Tim Duncan ('97), Blake Griffin ('09) and Maya Moore of Connecticut ('09). Ohio State's Evan Turner and Connecticut's Tina Charles won the Award in 2010.