Aug. 19, 2009
LOS ANGELES – Georgia Tech forward Gani Lawal has been named one of 50 pre-season candidates for the John R. Wooden Award All-American Team and Player of the Year trophy, announced today by Richard “Duke” Llewellyn, Wooden Award Chairman and founder.
The list is comprised of 50 student athletes who, based on last year’s individual performance and team records, are the early frontrunners for college basketball’s most prestigious honor.
Lawal, a 6-9 junior from Norcross, Ga., averaged 15.1 points and 9.5 rebounds per game while shooting 55.6 percent from the floor last year for the Yellow Jackets. He ranked in the top five of the Atlantic Coast Conference in rebound average and field goal percentage, and led the conference in “double-doubles.”
A third-team All-ACC choice as a sophomore, Lawal entered his name in the NBA draft in April, but withdrew before the deadline and remained at Tech for his junior season.
Tech has never had a player win the Wooden Award, but five have been finalists – Mark Price (1986), Tom Hammonds (1989), Dennis Scott (1990), Kenny Anderson (1990) and Matt Harpring (1997, 1998).
Luke Harangody of Notre Dame is the only 2009 Wooden All-American returning to college basketball in 2009-10. Other returning players from last year’s Wooden Award ballot, include Sherron Collins of Kansas, Duke’s Kyle Singler and Kalin Lucas of Michigan State. Purdue’s Robbie Hummel made the Wooden ballot in 2008.
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.
Nine schools had two players chosen to the Wooden Award preseason Top 50: Kansas (Collins, Cole Aldrich), Michigan State (Lucas, Raymar Morgan) Duke (Singler, Jon Scheyer), Michigan (DeShawn Sims, Manny Harris), North Carolina (Ed Davis, Deon Thompson), Purdue (Hummel, E’Twaun Moore), Connecticut (Kemba Walker, Jerome Dyson), Villanova (Scottie Reynolds, Corey Fisher), and West Virginia (Devin Ebanks, Da’Sean Butler).
Eleven conferences are represented on the Wooden Award Preseason List. Leading the way is the Big East (11), followed by the ACC (10), Big 10 (8), SEC (7), Big 12 (6), Pac-10 (3), and Atlantic 10, CAA, Conference USA, WAC and West Coast with one apiece.
In late December, the Wooden Award Committee will release the Midseason Top 30 list, followed in March by the National Ballot, consisting of approximately 20 top players who have proven to their universities that they are also making progress toward graduation and maintaining 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.
The 34th annual Wooden Award ceremony, which will include the announcement of the Men’s and Women’s Wooden Award winner, and the presentation of the Wooden Award All-American Teams and the Legends of Coaching Award, will take place the weekend of April 9-11, 2010.
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 cumulative 2.0 GPA. Previous winners include such notables as Larry Bird (’79), Michael Jordan (’84), Tim Duncan (’97), and Blake Griffin (’09). Candace Parker of Tennessee won the Women’s Wooden Award in 2007 and 2008.
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.
2009-10 John R. Wooden Award
Preseason Top 50 List
Name Height Class Position University ConferenceSolomon Alabi 7-1 So. C Florida State ACCCole Aldrich 6-11 Jr. C Kansas Big 12Al-Farouq Aminu 6-9 So. F Wake Forest ACCLuke Babbit 6-9 So. F Nevada WACTalor Battle 5-11 Jr. G Penn State Big TenTrevor Booker 6-7 Sr. F Clemson ACCMatt Bouldin 6-5 Sr. G Gonzaga West CoastCraig Brackins 6-10 Jr. F Iowa State Big 12Da'Sean Butler 6-7 Sr. F West Virginia Big EastSherron Collins 5-11 Sr. G Kansas Big 12Ed Davis 6-10 So. F North Carolina ACCDevan Downey 5-9 Sr G South Carolina SECJerome Dyson 6-3 Sr. G Connecticut Big EastDevin Ebanks 6-9 So. F West Virginia Big EastCorey Fisher 6-1 Jr. G Villanova Big EastLuke Harangody*# 6-8 Sr. F Notre Dame Big EastManny Harris 6-5 Jr. G Michigan Big TenGordon Hayward 6-8 So. G/F Butler Conference USAJeremy Hazell 6-5 Jr. G Seton Hall Big EastRobbie Hummel 6-8 Jr. F Purdue Big TenDamion James 6-7 Sr. G/F Texas Big 12Sylven Landesberg 6-6 So. G Virginia ACCGani Lawal 6-9 Jr. F Georgia Tech ACCKalin Lucas 6-0 Jr. G Michigan State Big TenTasmin Mitchell 6-7 Sr. F Louisiana State SECGreg Monroe 6-11 So. C Georgetown Big EastE'Twaun Moore 6-3 Jr. G Purdue Big TenRaymar Morgan 6-8 Sr. F Michigan State Big TenA.J. Ogilvy 6-11 Jr. C Vanderbilt SECPatrick Patterson 6-9 Jr. F Kentucky SECJerome Randle 5-10 Sr. G California Pac 10Scottie Reynolds 6-2 Jr. G Villanova Big EastSamardo Samuels 6-8 So. F Louisville Big EastLarry Sanders 6-11 Jr. F VCU CAAJon Scheyer 6-5 Sr. G Duke ACCDeShawn Sims 6-8 Sr. F Michigan Big TenKyle Singler 6-8 Jr. F Duke ACCTyler Smith 6-7 Sr. G/F Tennessee SECIsaiah Thomas 5-8 So. G Washington Pac 10Deon Thompson 6-8 Sr. F North Carolina ACCJ.T. Tiller 6-3 Sr. G Missouri Big 12Evan Turner 6-7 Jr. G/F Ohio State Big TenJarvis Varnado 6-9 Sr. F/C Mississippi St. SECGreivis Vasquez 6-6 Sr. G Maryland ACCDeonta Vaughn 6-1 Sr. G Cincinnati Big EastKemba Walker 6-1 So. G Connecticut Big EastWillie Warren 6-4 So. G Oklahoma Big 12Terrico White 6-5 So. G Mississippi SECNic Wise 5-10 Sr. G Arizona Pac 10Chris Wright 6-8 Jr. F Dayton Atlantic 10
(Based on a preseason poll. Players listed alphabetically.) *indicates 2009 Wooden All-American # indicates 2008 Wooden All-American