April 8, 2006
LOS ANGELES (AP) - J.J. Redick took a West Coast vacation this week, spending some time with Adam Morrison and beating out his buddy for the John R. Wooden Award as college basketball's male player of the year.
Redick, a 6-foot-4 senior at Duke, edged the Gonzaga star by 74 points in the third-closest balloting in the history of the award.
Mark Few, who coaches Morrison, believes both players were deserving.
"Society always wants to pick a winner. I don't know how you can choose between the two of them," Few said following Saturday's presentation ceremony. "They've been great for college basketball, they've raised the attention up a notch this year.
"We were rooting for J.J., I feel like Duke was rooting for us."
Redick, completing a sweep of the men's player of the year awards this spring, collected 4,646 points to 4,574 for Morrison. Duke's Shelden Williams finished third with 2,142 points, followed by Villanova's Randy Foye with 2,050 and Washington's Brandon Roy with 1,885.
"I'm extremely honored to received this award," Redick said. "All the candidates were very deserving. I never set out to win individual awards. To win is just a huge honor."
Redick finished second last year behind Utah's Andrew Bogut.
Seimone Augustus capped her exceptional career at LSU by winning the women's Wooden Award, getting 298 points in the balloting of over 200 voters to finish 83 points ahead of North Carolina's Ivory Latta.
Augustus, a 6-foot-1 senior, has won the women's award each of the past two years to join Virginia's Ralph Sampson (1982-83) as the only two-time winner.
Cappie Pondexter of Rutgers finished third in the women's division with 135 points, followed by Oklahoma's Courtney Paris with 106 and Duke's Monique Currie with 96.
The awards are named for the former UCLA coach who guided the Bruins to 10 NCAA championships in a 12-year span before retiring in 1975. UCLA's Marques Johnson was the first to win the award - two years after Wooden stepped down.
Redick is the sixth Duke player to win the award, joining Christian Laettner, Elton Brand, Shane Battier, Jason Williams and Alana Beard, who won two years ago to become the first woman so honored.
"He's had a great career," Morrison said of his friend, adding he wasn't disappointed about finishing second.
"That's the way it goes. I know what I did on the court," he said.
Redick shot 47 percent from the field, 42 percent from 3-point range and 85 percent from the free throw line in leading Duke to a 32-4 record. He finished his career with 2,769 points and the record 457 3-pointers.
Redick and Morrison kept in touch during the season.
"We're both very competitive," Redick said. "The main thing about it was to help our teams win ballgames, and I think we did that."
Morrison, a junior, hasn't decided whether he'll pass up his final year of eligibility to make himself available for the NBA draft.
"It's his decision and it's his time frame," Few said. "He loves basketball, he loves his teammates. I have to do the best job I can of giving him proper facts about it."
Morrison, who averaged 28 points for Gonzaga (29-4) figures to be one of the first players picked if he opts to go pro.
Augustus was unable to attend the ceremony because she was traveling to Australia, where she's trying out for the U.S. senior Olympic team.
"She doesn't know yet because she's on a plane," said Augustus' mother, Kim, who attended the ceremony with her husband, Seymore. "It's really exciting for us. Once she finds out, she's really going to be excited."
Seymore said his family was also proud that Seimone is graduating in four years with two degrees.
For the first time since the award was first presented, Wooden didn't attend either the award ceremony or the banquet honoring the winners and other nominees.
The Wooden family announced last August he wouldn't attend due to a trademark dispute concerning the use of his name. The 95-year-old former coach was hospitalized earlier in the week following a bout of diverticulitis.
"The club has no interest in having a voice in how Coach Wooden licenses his name," Wooden Award spokesman Chip Namius said. "It's the 30th anniversary of the award, and it certainly would be great if he could be with us today. Hopefully the situation will be resolved and he can be with us again soon."
Syracuse's Jim Boeheim, honored as the Wooden Legends of Coaching winner, presented the men's award, and former Southern California star Cheryl Miller presented the women's award.