LOS ANGELES, Calif. (January 11, 2017) – The Los Angeles Athletic Club has announced its John R. Wooden Award® presented by Wendy’s® Midseason Top 25 today on ESPNU.
Chosen by a poll of national college basketball experts, the list comprises of 25 student-athletes who are front-runners for the sport’s most prestigious honor, based on their performances during the first half of the 2016-17 season.
On the 2017 Wooden Award Midseason Top 25 list, four players not on the Preseason Top 50 were named to Midseason Top 25: Luke Kennard of Duke, TJ Leaf of UCLA, Kelan Martin of Butler, and Johnathan Motley of Baylor. Five schools have two players that were chosen: Kansas (Josh Jackson and Frank Mason III), Kentucky (De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk), North Carolina (Joel Berry II and Justin Jackson), UCLA (Lonzo Ball and TJ Leaf), and Wisconsin (Ethan Happ and Nigel Hayes).
After only two freshmen were named to the 2016 list, seven freshmen were named to the 2017 Midseason Top 25: Lonzo Ball of UCLA, De’Aaron Fox of Kentucky, Markelle Fultz of Washington, Josh Jackson of Kansas, TJ Leaf of UCLA, Lauri Markkanen of Arizona, and Malik Monk of Kentucky.
The ACC and Pac-12 lead all conferences with five selections each, followed by the Big 12 and Big Ten with four apiece; the Big East with three; the SEC with two; and the Horizon League and WCC with one selection each.
The players on the list are considered strong candidates for the 2017 John R. Wooden Award presented by Wendy’s. The leading candidates will be further pared to 20 top players in early February. Fifteen 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 will be submitted to voters on the Final Ballot prior to the NCAA Tournament.
Every year, players have made the Final Ballot that were not on the preseason or midseason lists. Voters are permitted to take into consideration the opening rounds of the NCAA Tournament when casting the ballot. The ten-man Wooden Award All-American Team will be announced the week of the “Elite Eight” round of the NCAA Tournament.