Mountain West Duo Named to Wooden Award Midseason Top 25 List
SDSU's Jamaal Franklin, UNLV's Anthony Bennett among candidates for national player of the year honor
Jan. 11, 2013
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo - San Diego State junior guard Jamaal Franklin and UNLV freshman forward Anthony Bennett have been named to the John R. Wooden Award Midseason Top 25 list, announced Thursday by the Los Angeles Athletic Club on ESPNU. The Mountain West is one of six conferences (ACC, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, SEC) with two or more representatives on the list.
Selected by the Wooden Award National Advisory Board, the list is made up of 25 student-athletes who, based on their performances in November, December, and the beginning of January, are the frontrunners for college basketball's most prestigious honor.
Franklin is the only Mountain West player currently averaging a double-double, ranking 13th nationally with a league-high 10.5 rebounds per game while contributing a 17.4 scoring average (third in the MW). In addition, the MW preseason player of the year ranks sixth in the conference in assists (3.6 apg), seventh in blocks (1.2 bpg) and free throw percentage (.776), eighth in field goal percentage (.442) and tied for ninth in steals (1.36 spg). He is also tied with Bennett for most double-doubles (seven) in the Mountain West this season.
Bennett, one of only three freshmen to make the list, leads the MW in scoring at 19.4 points per game, which ranks 24th nationally and first among all freshmen. The Brampton, Ontario, native also is second in the league in field goal percentage (.558), third in blocks (1.44 bpg) and fourth in rebounding (8.9 rpg). The preseason MW freshman of the year has scored in double figures in all 16 of UNLV's games and has recorded seven double-doubles this season, tying for league-best with Franklin.
The players on the list are considered strong candidates for the official ballot. The National Ballot will consist of approximately 20 top players who have proven to their universities that they are making progress toward graduation and maintaining at least a cumulative 2.0 GPA.
The Wooden Award All-American Team, consisting of the nation's top 10 players, will be announced the week of the "Elite Eight" round of the NCAA Tournament. The John R. Wooden Award Player of the Year presented by Wendy's will be announced on ESPN during the Final Four Weekend in Atlanta. The 2013 Wooden Award Gala presented by Wendy's will take place April 11-13, 2013, at The Los Angeles Athletic Club. The Gala will honor the Men's and Women's Wooden Award winners, All-Americans and Legends of Coaching Award winner, Kansas Head Coach Bill Self.
The Mountain West has had two Wooden Award winners in its 14-year history (BYU's Jimmer Fredette in 2011 and Utah's Andrew Bogut in 2005).