Jan. 6, 2011
LOS ANGELES - Washington State University men's basketball junior Klay Thompson is one of 30 midseason candidates for the 2010-11 John R. Wooden Award, The Los Angeles Athletic Club announced Thursday.
A native of Ladera Ranch, Calif., Thompson leads the league and ranks 11th in the nation in scoring with 22.2 points per game. He ranks 10th on WSU's career scoring list with 1,334 points after becoming the third-fastest Cougar to reach 1,000 points last season as a sophomore. Thompson also ranks in the league's top-five in 3-point field goals made (second, 2.9 mpg), free throw percentage (third, .826), assists (fourth, 4.0 apg), steals (fourth, 1l.9 spg) and 3-point field goal percentage (fifth, .444).
Earlier this season, Thompson became the first Cougar to make the preseason list since Derrick Low and Kyle Weaver were both named to the preseason top-50 prior to the 2007-08 season. He is the first to move on to the midseason top-30 since Low went on to make the midseason cut that year. This season's midseason list contains student-athletes from nine different conferences, including three from the Pacific-10 Conference. Thompson is joined by Isaiah Thomas (Washington) and Derrick Williams (Arizona).
The Big Ten and Big 12 conferences boast the largest number of players chosen to the list, with six each. Other conferences with multiple players represented include the ACC (five), Big East (five), Pac-10 (three), and the Mountain West (two). The Horizon, SEC and Ohio Valley each had one player selected.
Returning players from past Wooden Award ballots include a pair of seniors; Duke's Kyle Singler (2009, 2010) and BYU's Jimmer Fredette (2010). Singler was the MVP of the 2010 Final Four and is averaging 17.5 points and 5.8 rebounds in 2010-11 for the undefeated Blue Devils. Fredette was an All-Mountain West Conference player as a junior and so far this year posts a 24.1 ppg scoring average.
Transfers, freshmen and medical redshirts are eligible for this midseason list but did not appear on the preseason top-50. All players nationally who excel throughout the season will be evaluated and considered for the official voting ballot released in March. The National Ballot consists of approximately 20 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. The Wooden Award All-American Team will be announced the week of the `Elite Eight' round during the NCAA Tournament, making it unique among college postseason awards.
Purdue (JaJuan Johnson, E'Twaun Moore) and No. 1-ranked Duke (Singler, Nolan Smith) were the only schools with two players on the midseason list. In a change from the past several years, half of the players chosen are seniors. Only two freshmen made the list; Ohio State's Jared Sullinger and Terrence Jones of Kentucky.
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.
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. The Award has also sent more than 1,000 underprivileged children to week-long college basketball camps in the Award's 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 Americans, takes place at The Los Angeles Athletic Club on the Friday prior to the John R. Wooden Award Ceremony.
Follow the candidates and get the latest news throughout the season by logging on to www.WoodenAward.com. For more information on the John R. Wooden Award, please contact the Wooden Award staff at 213-630-5206 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.