Jan. 4, 2010
LOS ANGELES - Gonzaga senior guard Matt Bouldin and Saint Mary's senior center Omar Samhan were named to the top 30 candidate list for the John R. Wooden Award, the nation's most coveted college basketball honor.
With two players selected to the mid-season list, the WCC tied the Pac-10 and the Mountain West for the fifth most from one conference. The Big East leads the Midseason Top 30 with six players selected. The Big 12 and ACC follow with five selections, the Big Ten with four, the SEC with three, and the Horizon League and Ivy League with one selection each. Overall, more than 90 different players received votes.
The mid-season Top 30 were announced today by The Los Angeles Athletic Club's John R. Wooden Award Committee. Composed of the players who will compete for this season's player of the year award, the selections are based on individual excellence and team record during the first half of the season.
Bouldin, a Highlands Ranch, Colo., native, is averaging a team-leading 15.1 ppg, 4.9 rpg, a team-leading 4.1 assists/game, 2.0 steals/game and has a 1.4 assist-to-turnover ratio. The Bulldogs are off to an 11-3 start entering West Coast Conference play this Saturday at the University of Portland.
Bouldin has also continued his climb up Gonzaga's career scoring, assist and steals lists. His 1,365 career points rank 15th, his 365 assists are fifth and his 150 steals also rank fifth, the latter three shy of moving past Blake Stepp and into fourth. Bouldin is currently 59th in the NCAA Division I ranks in free throw percentage at 85.2 percent and is 68th in steals at 2.0/game.
Bouldin becomes the ninth Bulldog to be nominated for the award. The Bulldogs have had two John R. Wooden Award Top Five recipients, Adam Morrison in 2006 and Dan Dickau in 2002. Blake Stepp was a Top 10 All-American in 2004 and Casey Calvary received the same recognition in 2001. Matt Santangelo (2000), Cory Violette (2003-04), Ronny Turiaf (2004-05) and Jeremy Pargo (2008-09) are the other Bulldogs to receive nominations.
Samhan becomes just the second Saint Mary's player to make the Wooden Award mid-season list, after Patrick Mills was selected during the 2009-10 season. Samhan, a Northern California native from San Ramon, CA, is in the middle of his best season as a Gael. He is averaging a double-double with 20.8 points and 11.0 rebounds per game, to lead the West Coast conference in both categories, while ranking 18th and ninth in the country, respectively. Three times this season he had been named the WCC Player of the Week, and was named the WCC Player of the Month for November.
Saint Mary's is 13-2 this season, and Samhan is coming off a Shamrock Office Solutions Classic Most Valuable selection after averaging 19.0 points, 10.0 rebounds, and 7.0 blocks per game, in wins over Binghamton and Howard. Samhan tied a school record with nine blocked shots against the Howard, and helped Saint Mary's set a school and West Coast Conference record with 17 blocks as a team.
This season he has scored in double figures in all 15 games, while pulling down 10 or more rebounds eight times, giving him a WCC leading eight double-doubles, bringing his career total to 31. Additionally, he ranks sixth in scoring at Saint Mary's with 1,434 points, is third all-time with 900 career rebounds, and ranks second with 197 career blocked shots.
Among the Mid-season Top 30 candidates are returning Wooden Award All-American Luke Harangody (2008, 2009) of Notre Dame (the nation's No .4 scorer at 24.5 ppg) and returning players from last year's Wooden Award ballot, Sherron Collins (13.8 ppg, 4.2 ast) of Kansas, Duke's Kyle Singler (15.5 points, 7.4 rebs) and Kalin Lucas of Michigan State (15.7 ppg, 4.1 ast).
Ten players have been selected to the mid-season Top 30 who were not on the preseason list. This impressive group includes two freshmen, Kentucky's Wall and Kansas' Henry; and eight returning players: James Anderson (Oklahoma State), Jimmer Fredette (Brigham Young), Darington Hobson (New Mexico), Wesley Johnson (Syracuse), Jeremy Lin (Harvard), Quincy Pondexter (Washington), Omar Samhan (Saint Mary's) and Klay Thompson (Washington State).
Just as players who are not on the preseason list are eligible for the Midseason Top 30, 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. Players selected to the national ballot will have to be certified by their university as 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 Women's John R. Wooden Award Midseason list will be released next week.
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 Legends of Coaching Award to Florida's Billy Donovan, will take place on April 9, 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 (Tennessee) won the Women's Wooden Award in 2007 and 2008 and Maya Moore (Connecticut) won last year.
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 all-day tournament, which brings together Special Olympic athletes and the All-Americans, takes place at The Los Angeles Athletic Club during the John R. Wooden Award weekend.
JOHN R. WOODEN AWARD MID-SEASON TOP 30
Name Ht CL Pos University Cole Aldrich 6-11 Jr. C KansasAl-Farouq Aminu 6-9 So. F Wake ForestJames Anderson 6-6 Jr. G Oklahoma StateTrevor Booker 6-7 Sr. F ClemsonMatt Bouldin 6-5 Sr. G GonzagaDa'Sean Butler 6-7 Sr. F West VirginiaSherron Collins 5-11 Jr. G KansasEd Davis 6-10 So. F North CarolinaJerome Dyson 6-3 Sr. G ConnecticutJimmer Fredette 6-2 Jr. G Brigham YoungLuke Harangody $% 6-8 Jr. F Notre DameManny Harris 6-5 Jr. G MichiganGordon Hayward 6-8 So. G/F ButlerXavier Henry 6-6 Fr. G KansasDarington Hobson 6-7 Jr. G/F New MexicoRobbie Hummel 6-8 Jr. F PurdueDamion James 6-7 Sr. G/F TexasWesley Johnson 6-7 Jr. F SyracuseJeremy Lin 6-3 Sr. G HarvardKalin Lucas 6-0 Jr. G Michigan StateGreg Monroe 6-11 So. C GeorgetownPatrick Patterson 6-9 Jr. F KentuckyQuincy Pondexter 6-6 Sr. F WashingtonScottie Reynolds 6-2 Jr. G VillanovaOmar Samhan 6-11 Sr. C Saint Mary'sJon Scheyer 6-5 Sr. G DukeKyle Singler 6-8 Jr. F DukeKlay Thompson 6-6 So. G Washington StateJarvis Varnado 6-9 Sr. F/C Mississippi StateJohn Wall 6-4 Fr. G KentuckyEvan Turner # 6-7 Jr. G/F Ohio State
$ 2009 Wooden All-American% 2008 Wooden All-American# Injured, playing status uncertain