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