James Harden named to Wooden Award midseason top 30 list
Sun Devil freshman James Harden has been named as one of the 30 top candidates for the John R. Wooden Award, the nation's most coveted college basketball award, The Los Angeles Athletic Club's John R. Wooden Award Committee announced today. Composed of the top 30 players who will compete for this season's player of the year award, the midseason list is based on individual player performance and team records during the first half of the season.
Harden, the Pac-10's youngest player (turned 18 on Aug. 26), leads the Sun Devils (14-5; 4-3 in the Pac-10) in scoring (18.8 ppg.), steals (36) and minutes per game (33.1). He is shooting .546 from the field, .765 from the free throw line and .420 from the three-point stripe. Harden is the first McDonald's All-American to sign with ASU out of high school since 1984. He already has 10 20-point games, including five straight games from Dec. 29-Jan. 17 which is a first for an ASU freshman. He is averaging 22.1 points and 5.4 boards in seven Pac-10 games and is the only player in the league to lead his team in scoring in each Pac-10 game.
Harden is one of eleven players who has been selected to the midseason Top 30 who were not on the preseason list. This impressive group includes returning players enjoying breakout seasons (Brian Roberts of Dayton, Raymar Morgan of Michigan State, Wayne Ellington of North Carolina, Luke Harangody of Notre Dame and Sam Young of Pittsburgh), and freshmen Eric Gordon of Indiana, Michael Beasley of Kansas State, Derrick Rose of Memphis and local stars Kevin Love of UCLA and USC's O.J. Mayo, along with Harden.
The Pac-10 (seven players) has the most players chosen to the Wooden Midseason Top 30, followed by the ACC with 5, Big 12 with four, the SEC Big East, and Big 10 with three each, Conference USA with two, and the Atlantic 10, Southern and Metro Atlantic Athletic each with one.
"This was another year where a lot of players have been surprises," said Duke Llewellyn, Wooden Award chairman. "Players across the nation stepped up and made a case for themselves, whether they were veteran players or freshmen. We look forward to continuing to follow these talented players as we determine the 10 candidates for the Wooden Award All-American Team."
Also on the list are returning Wooden All-Americans Tyler Hansbrough of North Carolina and Brandon Rush of Kansas, whose teams have been ranked in the Top 10 all season. CSTV.com continues to follow the Wooden Award, and its team of experts ranks its own top candidates each week at http://www.cstv.com/sports/m-baskbl/woodenwatch/.
Players who do not make the Midseason list are still eligible for the national ballot, which will be selected in March and will consist of approximately 20 players, chosen by the Wooden Award National Advisory Board Committee, who have proven to their universities that they are also making progress toward graduation and maintaining a cumulative 2.0 GPA.
More than 1,000 voters, comprised of sports media members and college basketball experts from across the nation, will then cast their votes to determine both the 10-member All-American Team and Player of the Year. In late March, the 10-player Wooden Award All-American Team will be announced.
The 2008 Award ceremony, which will include the presentation of the Men's and Women's Wooden Award winners, the Wooden Award All-American Teams, and the Legends of Coaching Award to Pat Summitt of the University of Tennessee, will be held at The Los Angeles Athletic Club the weekend of April 11-12. The 32nd Annual Wooden Award Gala, with a reception and dinner program, will take place the evening of Friday, April 11 at the Sheraton Downtown Los Angeles. On Saturday, April 12, the Wooden Award Announcement and trophy presentation will be televised, followed by a press conference and sponsor reception.
About the John R. Wooden Award
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 Larry Bird ('79), Michael Jordan ('84), and Tim Duncan ('97) and last year's recipients, Kevin Durant of Texas and returning player Candace Parker of Tennessee.
Since its inception, the John R. Wooden Award has contributed nearly one million dollars to universities' general scholarship fund in the names of the All-American recipients and has 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-American players, takes place at The Los Angeles Athletic Club on the Friday of the John R. Wooden Award weekend.
For more information on the John R. Wooden Award, please contact Christin Maxwell at 213-630 email@example.com or visit www.WoodenAward.com. Media may visit the website or contact Linda Reid at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Midseason Top 30
D.J. Augustin So. 6-0 G Texas
Michael Beasley Fr. 6-10 F Kansas State
Jon Brockman Jr. 6-7 F Washington
Chase Budinger So. 6-7 F Arizona
Mario Chalmers Jr. 6-1 G Kansas
Stephen Curry So. 6-1 G Davidson
Chris Douglas-Roberts Jr. 6-7 G Memphis
Wayne Ellington So. 6-4 G North Carolina
Shan Foster Sr. 6-6 G Vanderbilt
Eric Gordon Fr. 6-4 G Indiana
Jamont Gordon Jr. 6-4 G/F Mississippi State
Malik Hairston Sr. 6-6 G Oregon
Tyler Hansbrough Jr. 6-9 F North Carolina
Luke Harangody So. 6-8 F Notre Dame
James Harden Fr. 6-5 G Arizona State
Roy Hibbert Sr. 7-2 C Georgetown
Chris Lofton Sr. 6-2 G Tennessee
Kevin Love Fr. 6-10 C UCLA
Derrick Low Sr. 6-2 G Washington State
O.J. Mayo Fr. 6-5 G USC
Raymar Morgan So. 6-7 F Michigan State
Demarcus Nelson Sr. 6-4 G Duke
Tyrese Rice Jr. 6-1 G Boston College
Brian Roberts Sr. 6-2 G Dayton
Derrick Rose Fr. 6-3 G Memphis
Brandon Rush Jr. 6-6 G Kansas
Sean Singletary Sr. 6-0 G Virginia
Jason Thompson Sr. 6-11 F Rider
D.J. White Sr. 6-9 F Indiana
Sam Young Jr. 6-6 F Pittsburgh