New Mexico Pair Named to Wooden Award Preseason Top 50 List
LOS ANGELES - New Mexico senior guard Kendall Williams and junior center Alex Kirk have both been named to the preseason Wooden Award Watch List, announced Tuesday by the The Los Angeles Athletic Club. The list, chosen by a preseason poll of national college basketball experts, is comprised of 50 student-athletes who are the early front-runners for the sport's most prestigious honor.
New Mexico was one of seven programs to have two student-athletes selected to the list, joining defending NCAA Champion Louisville, Baylor, Michigan, Ohio State, Tennessee and UCLA.
The players on the list are considered strong candidates for the midseason list and the official voting ballot, which will consist 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.
Williams and Kirk both were invited to the World University Games tryout camp in Colorado Springs this summer, with Kirk making the squad that finished ninth in Russia this summer. Both players were selected as preseason Mountain West All-Conference team members, and Williams was the Preseason Player of the Year after winning the 2012-13 Player of the Year Award and earning honorable mention Associated Press All-America honors.
The 38th 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. The event will take place the weekend of April 11-12, 2014.
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 (1979), Michael Jordan (1984), Tim Duncan (1997) and Kevin Durant (2009). Michigan's Trey Burke won the 2013 Wooden Award presented by Wendy's.
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.
|2013-14 JOHN R. WOODEN AWARD PRESEASON TOP 50|
|Keith Appling||Sr||G||Michigan State|
|Jahii Carson||So.||G||Arizona State|
|Aaron Craft||Sr.||G||Ohio State|
|Cleanthony Early||Sr.||F||Wichita State|
|Jerian Grant||Sr.||G||Notre Dame|
|Gary Harris||So.||G||Michigan State|
|ALEX KIRK||JR.||C||NEW MEXICO|
|James Michael McAdoo||Jr.||F||North Carolina|
|Adreian Payne||Sr.||C||Michigan State|
|Glenn Robinson III||So.||F||Michigan|
|LaQuinton Ross||Jr.||F||Ohio State|
|Wayne Selden Jr.||Fr.||G||Kansas|
|Marcus Smart||So.||G||Oklahoma State|
|KENDALL WILLIAMS||SR.||G||NEW MEXICO|