Just like last year, an Arizona Wildcat freshman was named to the John R. Wooden Award Midseason Top 25. This time the honor belongs to forward Stanley Johnson.
Johnson leads the team in scoring (13.9 PPG) and rebounding (6.6 RPG). He, along with Duke’s Jahlil Okafor, is one of just two freshmen in the major basketball conferences averaging at least 13.5 points and 6.0 rebounds per game.
The Wooden award is given to the most outstanding basketball player at the end of the season. Arizona’s Aaron Gordon and Nick Johnson were named to the midseason list last year, though neither took home the end-season prize.
Five freshmen were named to the list and Johnson is one of three Pac-12 players to be honored, joining Stanford’s Chasson Randle and Utah’s Delon Wright.
Johnson leads Pac-12 freshmen and ranks 14th overall in the conference in scoring. He was MVP of the EA Sports Maui Invitational in November, averaging 15.3 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game for the tournament champions.
The conference has been without a Wooden award winner since 1995, when UCLA’s Ed O’Bannon was named the most outstanding player in the nation. Arizona hasn’t had a Wooden award winner since Sean Elliott in 1989.
Johnson and the 10th ranked Wildcats (14-2, 2-1 Pac-12) return to action Thursday at home against Colorado. It will be their first game since getting upset 58-56 at Oregon State on Sunday night.