Oct. 27, 2006
LOS ANGELES - Junior guard Arron Afflalo and sophomore forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute are among the top 50 preseason candidates for the John R. Wooden All-American team, as announced by the John R. Wooden Award Selection Committee. UCLA is one of eight programs in the country that had more than one player make the top 50.
The list is composed of 50 student athletes who, based on last year's individual performance and team records, are the early frontrunners for college basketball's most coveted trophy. These top 50 candidates are comprised of returning players, although transfers, freshmen, medical redshirts and other players who excel throughout the season will be evaluated and considered for both the Midseason top 30 list and the National Ballot. Players not on the preseason list are eligible for the midseason top 30 and ballot.
"With so many talented players across the country the committee had a tough time deciding on 50 candidates," said Duke Llewellyn, Wooden Award chairman. "Fifteen conferences are represented this year, which shows the parity in college basketball today. These preseason selections represent the elite and our team at the Wooden Award is excited to see the best players in the nation prove their case as college basketball's player of the year."
Candidates have been selected from 15 NCAA conferences, up from 11 last year. Conferences include the ACC (eight players), the Big 12 (eight players), the Pac-10 (seven players), the Big East (seven players), the SEC (six players), the Big 10 (four players), the Mountain West (two players), the Atlantic 10 (one player), Conference USA (one player), the Western Athletic (one player), the Mid-Continent (one player), the Sun Belt (one player), the Horizon League (one player), the Colonial Athletic Association (one player) and the Big Sky (one player).
Florida, the defending national champion, is represented by Corey Brewer, Al Horford, and Joakim Noah from last year's starting five. In addition to UCLA, the teams that have two players represented are, Alabama, Georgetown, North Carolina, Texas A&M, Kansas, Wisconsin and Arizona. The national spotlight will not only be on these players but on these teams as they enter the 2006-07 season.
In January, the Wooden Award committee will release the midseason top 30 followed by the national ballot in early March. On Tuesday, March 27, the 10-player Wooden Award All-American Team will be announced. The 2007 Award ceremony, which will include the presentation of the Men's and Women's Wooden Award, the Wooden Award All-American Teams, and the Legends of Coaching Award to recipient Gene Keady of Purdue University, will be held at The Los Angeles Athletic Club on April 7, 2007. The top five male and female finalists will be invited to Los Angeles for the awards ceremony and will receive a contribution from The Los Angeles Athletic Club for their university's general scholarship fund.