The number of finalists for the 2013-14 John R. Wooden Award was pared down to 15 men’s collegiate players Saturday, and Arizona Wildcats junior guard Nick Johnson made the cut.
The Wooden Award is bestowed annually upon the nation’s best basketball player who maintains a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0. Trey Burke of Michigan won the award as a sophomore last year.
Johnson is the only junior in the field of 15. He is posting numbers of 16.3 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.2 steals in 32.5 minutes per game while shooting 44.3 percent from the floor. In Arizona’s most recent game, Johnson made 3-of-6 three-pointers and grabbed six rebounds while scoring a season-high 25 points, leading the Wildcats to a 74-69 win at Oregon State on Wednesday.
The frontrunners for the Wooden Award are considered to be senior Doug McDermott of Creighton, as well as freshmen Julius Randle (Kentucky), Andrew Wiggins (Kansas) and Jabari Parker (Duke). Syracuse is the only school to have two finalists for the award — freshman Tyler Ennis and senior C.J. Fair.
Seniors Russ Smith (Louisville), Shabazz Napier (Connecticut), Sean Kilpatrick (Cincinnati) and Cleanthony Early (Wichita State) are also in contention for the award. Sophomores Gary Harris (Michigan State), Nik Stauskas (Michigan) and Kyle Anderson (Delaware) were also named finalists Saturday.
The individual winner of this year’s award will be announced on April 4. The nation’s top five players will make up the Wooden Award All America Team, to be announced during the Sweet Sixteen round of the NCAA Tournament, as voted on by hundreds of members of the media.