Arizona State’s Tra Holder and Arizona’s Allonzo Trier and DeAndre Ayton have been named to the midseason top 25 watch list for the John R. Wooden Award, which goes to the best player in college basketball.
Guards and upperclassmen dominated the list and Holder and Trier qualify as both. The list consists of 15 guards and 17 upperclassmen.
Holder is averaging 21.4 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 4.2 assists to go with 1.8 steals per game. He has also been lethal from beyond the three point line shooting 43.5 percent from downtown this season. Holder led the Sun Devils to a remarkable 12-0 start and unprecedented top 3 ranking in the AP Poll earlier this year.
Arizona’s Trier, a junior, doesn’t have the gaudy numbers of Holder but still has an impressive career-high average of 19.6 points per game and is shooting a solid 52.7 percent from the floor. Trier’s Wildcats handed Holder and the Sun Devil’s their first loss of the season on Dec. 30 in Tucson.
Trier’s teammate, Ayton, is neither a guard nor upperclassmen, but might have the best chance to win the award.
The 7-foot-1 big man fills up the stat sheet in all categories, posting 20.4 points, 11.6 rebounds, 1.6 blocks and 0.5 steals per game while shooting 62.5 percent from the field and 71.6 percent from the free throw line.
Ayton and Trier are one of four pairs of teammates to make the list along with Duke’s Grayson Allen and Marvin Bagley III, Villanova’s Mikal Bridges and Jalen Brunson and North Carolina’s Luke Maye and Joel Berry II.
Oklahoma guard Trae Young is another freshman climbing the list. Young is the only player in college basketball averaging more than 10 assists per game and is leading college basketball in scoring at the moment. His 29.2 points per game average is 3.6 points higher than second place Kendrick Nunn of Oakland University.
Murphy states in the article that the Wooden advisory board will trim its list down to 15 candidates in late February.