BOZICH | Smith, Randle Make Wooden Award Top 25 Cut - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH | Smith, Randle Make Wooden Award Top 25 Cut

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Kentucky freshman Julius Randle and Russ Smith of Louisville made the cut for the Wooden Award mid-season Top 25. Kentucky freshman Julius Randle and Russ Smith of Louisville made the cut for the Wooden Award mid-season Top 25.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Then there were 25. Which is a lot. But that is how many players survived the cut for the mid-season watch list for the John Wooden Player of the Year for college basketball.

Locally, two players made the cut – Louisville senior Russ Smith and Julius Randle, Kentucky's terrific freshman forward.

Can either Smith or Randle win the award? They've got a shot with strong performances in February and March.

The goal is to make the trip to Los Angeles in April when the Wooden Award will be presented by the Los Angeles Athletic Club. The list will be cut to 10 in March when ballots are distributed. Michigan guard Trey Burke won the award last season.

Creighton forward Doug McDermott, Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart and Duke freshman Jabari Parker are considered the front-runners.

The list is dominated by a dozen seniors. Five freshmen – Randle, Parker, Andrew Wiggins of Kansas, Aaron Gordon of Arizona and Syracuse point guard Tyler Ennis – were nominated, along with five sophomores.

Four teams -- Duke, Arizona, Syracuse and Michigan State -- had two nominees. But the biggest omission from the list is Michigan State guard Gary Harris. Other surprising omissions were Jahii Carson of Arizona State, Aaron White of Iowa, BYU guard Tyler Haws and freshman Joel Embiid of Kansas.

Here is the 25-player list.

UCLA – Kyle Anderson, 6-9, sophomore, guard

Michigan State – Keith Appling, 6-1, senior, guard

New Mexico – Cameron Bairstow, 6-9, senior, forward

Missouri – Jordan Clarkson, 6-5, junior, guard

Ohio State – Aaron Craft, 6-2, senior, guard

Wisconsin – Sam Dekker, 6-7, sophomore, forward

Wichita State – Cleanthony Early, 6-8, senior, forward

Syracuse – Tyler Ennis, 6-2, freshman, guard

Syracuse – C.J. Fair, 6-8, senior, forward

Arizona – Aaron Gordon, 6-9, freshman, forward

Duke – Rodney Hood, 6-8, sophomore, forward

Arizona – Nick Johnson, 6-3, junior, guard

Iowa State – DeAndre Kane, 6-4, senior, guard

Creighton – Doug McDermott, 6-8, senior, forward

Connecticut – Shabazz Napier, 6-1, senior, guard

Duke – Jabari Parker, 6-8, freshman, forward

Michigan State – Adreian Payne, 6-10, senior, center

Florida – Casey Prather, 6-6, senior, forward

Kentucky – Julius Randle, 6-8, freshman, forward

Oklahoma State – Marcus Smart, 6-4, sophomore, guard

Louisville – Russ Smith, 6-1, senior, guard

N.C. State – T.J. Warren, 6-8, sophomore, forward

Kansas – Andrew Wiggins, 6-8, freshman, forward

UMass – Chaz Williams, 5-9, senior, guard

Oregon – Joseph Young, 6-2, junior, guard

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