LEXINGTON, Ky. – Add another national player of the year watch list to Makayla Epps’ résumé as the University of Kentucky senior guard has been named to the John R. Wooden Award® Women’s Preseason Top 30, which annually honors the most outstanding women’s college basketball player.
Seven conferences are represented on the list with the Atlantic Coast Conference boasting 10 selections, followed by the Big Ten, Pac-12 and Southeastern Conference with five apiece. The American and Big 12 Conferences each have two selections and the Big East has one pick. Of the student-athletes selected for the preseason top 30 list, 27 out of 30 are upperclassmen, including 15 seniors. Similar to the 2016 preseason top 30 list, no freshman made the list.
Players not chosen to the preseason list are eligible for the midseason list, the late season list and the national ballot. The national ballot consists of 15 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, consisting of the nation’s top five players, will be announced the week of the Final Four.
The 41st annual presentation of the John R. Wooden Award® to the men’s and women’s most outstanding basketball player will be the anchor presentation of the ESPN College Basketball Awards Show presented by Wendy’s® on ESPN2 on Friday, April 7, 2017. The men’s and women’s John R. Wooden Award All-American Teams will be honored during the ceremony.
Epps, who has scored 1,362 career points to rank 15th on UK’s all-time scoring list, is off to a great start this season for the Wildcats. The native of Lebanon, Ky., is averaging a team-best 19.4 points per game and leads the team with 42 assists and 14 steals. The senior, who was just named the SEC Player of the Week, has scored in double figures in every game but one this season, including four games with 20-plus points.
Epps earned lofty praise this preseason after averaging 17.2 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4.4 assists last season. On top of this selection, Epps has been named to several national player of the year watch lists, including the Nancy Lieberman Award Watch List, Naismith Trophy Top 50 and Wade Trophy Watch List. Epps was named to College Sports Madness’ and The Sporting News’ Preseason All-America First Team, Athlon Sports Preseason All-America Second Team and was named Preseason All-SEC by league media and league coaches. Last season, Epps earned honorable-mention All-America honors by both The Associated Press and WBCA.