Nov. 8, 2012
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Notre Dame senior forward Jack Cooley (Glenview, Ill.) has been named to the John R. Wooden Award Preseason Top 50 as announced today by the Los Angeles Athletic Club. Cooley, a preseason first team all-BIG EAST selection, was a second team all-BIG EAST selection last season and copped the league’s most improved player honor.
Chosen by a preseason poll of national college basketball media members, the list is comprised of 50 student-athletes who, based on last year’s individual performance and team records, are the early front-runners for college basketball’s most prestigious honor.
Cooley was one of seven BIG EAST players named to the list. In addition to Cooley, the other players from the conference included Chane Behanan (Louisville), Vincent Council (Providence), Gorgui Dieng (Louisville), Sean Kilpatrick (Cincinnati), Otto Porter (Georgetown) and Peyton Siva (Louisville).
Creighton junior forward Doug McDermott was a Wooden Award All American a year ago after an outstanding sophomore campaign in which he ranked first nationally in field goals made, third in scoring, and seventh in field goal percentage.
Transfers, freshmen and medical redshirts are not eligible for the Preseason Top 50. The players on the list are considered strong candidates for the midseason list and the official voting ballot, both of which are open to freshman and transfer students. 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, consisting of the nation’s top 10 players, will be announced the week of the “Elite Eight” round of the NCAA Tournament.
The 37th annual Wooden Award ceremony will honor the Men’s and Women’s Wooden Award winners, and will include the presentation of the Wooden Award All American Teams and the Legends of Coaching Award, which in 2013 will go to Kansas Head Coach Bill Self. The event will take place the weekend of April 12-13, 2013. Nine upperclassmen return to the Preseason Top 50 list from a year ago: Allen Crabbe of California; Aaron Craft of Ohio State; Tim Hardaway, Jr. of Michigan; Elias Harris of Gonzaga; Solomon Hill of Arizona; Ray McCallum of Detroit; McDermott; Peyton Siva of Louisville; and Patric Young of Florida.
Louisville, a Final Four team a year ago, was the only school with three players on the Preseason Top 50 (Siva, Dieng and Behanan). Seven schools had two players named to the list: Duke (Seth Curry and Mason Plumlee), Florida (Young and Kenny Boynton), Indiana (Christian Watford and Cody Zeller), Kansas (Elijah Johnson and Jeff Withey), Michigan (Hardaway, Jr. and Trey Burke), North Carolina State (Lorenzo Brown and C.J. Leslie) and Ohio State (Craft and Deshaun Thomas).
Two 2012-13 preseason honorees are younger brothers of previous John R. Wooden All Americans. Duke’s Seth Curry is the younger brother of 2009 Wooden Award All American Stephen Curry of Davidson. Cody Zeller of Indiana is the younger brother of 2012 Wooden Award All American Tyler Zeller of North Carolina. 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 GPA. Previous winners include such notables as Larry Bird (’79), Michael Jordan (’84), Tim Duncan (’97), Candace Parker (’07 and ’08), Kevin Durant (’09) and Maya Moore of Connecticut (’09 and `11). Kentucky freshman Anthony Davis won the men’s Award in 2012.
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 the weekend of the John R. Wooden Award Ceremony.
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