Aug. 9, 2005
LOS ANGELES - After tallying the ballots of the National Preseason Selection Committee, the John R. Wooden Award today announced the top 50 preseason candidates, including UCLA sophomore point guard Jordan Farmar, for the Men's 2005-06 Wooden Award All-American Team. 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 and other players who excel throughout the season will be evaluated and considered for both the Midseason top 30 list and the National Ballot.
Farmar, a 6-2, 180-pounder who prepped at Taft HS, in 2005 was named the Rivals.com National Freshman of the Year, the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year and to The Sporting News' All-Freshman team. As a true Bruin freshman last season, Farmar started every game (29) and averaged 34.3 minutes (No. 2 on the team), 13.2 points (No. 2/No. 3 on the all-time Bruin freshman chart, No. 1 among guards), 3.5 rebounds (No. 4), a team-high 5.28 assists and 1.41 steals (No. 2). He led the team in free throw shooting (.801, 109-136). Farmar led all Pac-10 freshmen in scoring, assists, free throw percentage and minutes played and was second in steals. He was UCLA's assist leader in 26 of 29 games, scored in double figures in 21 of 29 games, including 20 or more points four times, and led the Bruins in scoring on seven occasions. Farmar's season-highs were 27 points vs. Arizona (2/12); seven rebounds, twice; nine assists vs. Michigan (12/18) and four steals on two occasions.
"With so many players jumping to the next level and so many standout athletes from last year, the committee had a tough time nominating these candidates from such a wide selection of tremendous players," said Duke Llewellyn, Wooden Award chairman. "These preseason selections represent the elite of college basketball, and our entire 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."
Duke's J.J. Redick and Illinois' Dee Brown are the sole preseason candidates who were honored last year as members of the 2005 Wooden Award All-American Team. Additionally, Sheldon Williams (Duke) and Craig Smith (Boston College) join Redick and Brown as the only preseason candidates named to last year's official voting ballot. Other preseason candidates that were in the running for last year's Wooden Award include guards Justin Gray (Wake Forest), Chris Hernandez (Stanford), Carl Krauser (Pittsburgh) and Gerry McNamara (Syracuse); and forwards Leon Powe (California), P.J. Tucker (Texas) and Curtis Withers (Charlotte). Eleven NCAA conferences are represented, including the Big East (nine players), ACC (eight players), Pac-10 (seven players), Big Ten (six players), Big 12 (six players), Atlantic 10 (four players), SEC (four players), Conference USA (two players), Western Athletic Conference (two players), West Coast Conference (one player), and the Missouri Valley Conference (one player).
With over 90 players receiving at least one vote, no teams stood out with an overwhelming amount of preseason nominees. However, several teams had two players nominated, including Boston College, Connecticut, Duke, Michigan State, Stanford, Texas, and Wake Forest. Three of last year's Final Four teams feature representatives on the 2005-06 Wooden Award preseason list, including Michigan State's Paul Davis and Maurice Ager, Louisville's Taquan Dean, and Illinois' Dee Brown.
In mid-January, the Wooden Award committee will release the midseason top 30 on CBS Sports, and on Tuesday, March 28, the 10-player Wooden Award All-American Team will be announced. The 2006 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, will be held at The Los Angeles Athletic Club on April 8, 2006, and will be broadcast live on a national CBS telecast.
About the John R. Wooden Award
Created in 1976, the John R. Wooden Award is the most prestigious individual honor in college basketball. Wooden, the greatest college basketball coach in history, was UCLA's head coach for 27 years (1948-75), with a school record of 620-147, and he directed the Bruins to a record 10 NCAA Championships, including seven in a row from 1967-73. Wooden will be 95 years old on Oct. 14.
The John R. Wooden Award 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 Michael Jordan ('84), Larry Bird ('79), Tim Duncan ('97) and last year's recipient, Andrew Bogut ('05). The Bruins have two Wooden Award winners - Marques Johnson, earning the first Wooden Award in 1977 and Ed O'Bannon in 1995, when he led UCLA to its 11th NCAA Championship.
As a part of the John R. Wooden Award Scholarship Fund, the top five male and female finalists will receive a contribution from the John R. Wooden Award for their university's general scholarship fund. The Wooden Award Scholarship Fund was established in 2002 by Applied Materials and corporate partners through the California Community Foundation (CCF) to honor Coach Wooden's dedication as an educator and mentor. Applied Materials distributed $10,000 last year to each university represented by a men's and women's Wooden Award All-American Team finalist (for a total of $100,000). Additional donations to Applied Materials' John R. Wooden Award Scholarship Fund can be made by contacting the scholarship fund through the CCF (www.calfund.org).
2005-2006 TOP 50 PRESEASON JOHN R. WOODEN AWARD CANDIDATES
|Maurice Ager||6'5"||Sr.||Guard||Michigan State|
|JamesOn Curry||6'3"||So.||Guard||Oklahoma State|
|Paul Davis||6'11'||Sr.||Center||Michigan State|
|Jared Dudley||6'7"||Jr.||Forward||Boston College|
|Justin< Gray||6'2"||Sr.||Guard||Wake Forest|
|Jarrius Jackson||6'1"||Jr.||Guard||Texas< >Tech|
|Ben Jacobson||6'3"||Sr.||Guard||Northern Iowa|
|Nana Mensah-Bonsu||6'9"||Sr.||Forward||George Washington|
|Paul Millsap||6'8"||Jr.||Forward||Louisiana Tech|
|Kevin Pittsnogle||6'11"||Sr.||Center||West Virginia|
|Craig Smith||6'7"||Sr.||Forward||Boston College|
|Curtis Stinson||6'3"||Jr.||Guard||Iowa State|
*Indicates player was a 2004-2005 John R.Wooden Award All-American.