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Preseason Players of the Year Paige, Brogdon earn recognition
LOS ANGELES (November 17, 2015) – Nine Atlantic Coast Conference student-athletes earned mention Tuesday as the John R. Wooden Award presented by Wendy’s announced its Preseason Top 50 on ESPN’s SportsCenter and on ESPN.com.
ACC Preseason Co-Players of the Year Marcus Paige of North Carolina and Malcolm Brogdon of Virginia were among the league’s contingent. Also mentioned were Duke’s Grayson Allen and Brandon Ingram, Florida State’s Xavier Rathan-Mayes, Notre Dame’s Demetrius Jackson and Zach Auguste, North Carolina’s Brice Johnson and Virginia’s Anthony Gill.
Chosen by a preseason poll of national college basketball experts, the list is comprised of 50 student-athletes who are the early front-runners for college basketball’s most prestigious individual honor.
The Wooden Award Preseason Top 50 features three returning Wooden Award All Americans: Ron Baker (Wichita State), Malcolm Brogdon (Virginia) and Kyle Wiltjer (Gonzaga). The list also highlights stars from the 2015 NCAA Tournament: Allen of NCAA National Champion Duke; two players from NCAA Runner-Up Wisconsin, Nigel Hayes and Bronson Koenig; Gonzaga’s Kyle Wiltjer,and Domantas Sabonis; Notre Dame’s Auguste; Michigan State’s Denzel Valentine. Other notables include Daniel Hamilton, a 2014 Wooden Award High School Player of the Year while at St. John Bosco High School and Kris Dunn of Providence, who finished last season ranked third nationally in assists per game (7.5).
Several universities boast multiple players on the list. Indiana (James Blackmon, Jr., Yogi Ferrell and Troy Williams) and Kentucky (Skal Labissiere, Jamal Murray and Tyler Ulis) lead the honors with three candidates apiece, while Baylor, California, Duke, Gonzaga, Iowa State, Maryland, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Virginia, Wichita State and Wisconsin each have two players each on the Preseason Top 50.
The Top 50 nominees represent 10 conferences. The Big Ten leads all conferences with 10 selections, followed by the ACC (9), and the Big 12 (7), SEC (7), Pac-12 (5), Big East (4) and WCC (3). The American and Missouri Valley Conference each have two players selected and the Atlantic 10 has one player selected.
The players on the list are considered strong candidates for the 2016 John R. Wooden Award presented by Wendy’s. The Wooden Award National Advisory Board will select 25 players to the Midseason Top 25 in early January. In early February, the John R. Wooden Award will announce one final leading candidate list—the Late Season Top 20—prior to the selection of 15 players to the National Ballot. Nearly 1000 voters will rank order 10 of those 15 players, who have been qualified as meeting the standards set forth by Coach Wooden. Voting will open prior to the start of the NCAA Tournament and will allow voters to take into consideration performance during the early round games. The Wooden Award All American Team will be announced the week of the “Elite Eight” round of the NCAA Tournament. The winner of the John R. Wooden Award will be announced during the ESPN College Basketball Awards Show presented by Wendy’s on Friday, April 8, 2016.