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Arizona’s Nico Mannion named to Wooden Award preseason watch list

In this Oct. 8, 2019, file photo, Arizona's Nico Mannion speaks at the Pac-12 NCAA college basketball media day in San Francisco. (AP Photo/D. Ross Cameron, File)

The top 50 preseason watch list for the John Wooden Award, which honors the NCAA basketball player of the year, was released on Wednesday and included Arizona freshman Nico Mannion.

Mannion, a guard who went to Pinnacle High School in Phoenix, is a five-star prospect who was the number one recruit in the state and ninth in the country. According to MaxPreps, last year, he averaged 30.4 points, 6.2 assists and 6.2 rebounds per game.

At 18 years old, he’s one of ten freshman on the Wooden Award top 50 preseason watch list. He was one of three freshmen in the Pac-12 to make an appearance on the list, joining Washington’s Jaden McDaniels and Isaiah Stewart.

The Pac-12 had eight players on the list, which was the most of any conference. Twelve different conferences were represented on the top 50 watch list, and the Big East and SEC each had seven players, second to the Pac-12.

“The players on the list are considered strong candidates for the 2020 John R. Wooden Award Men’s Player of the Year presented by Wendy’s,” a release from the award’s website stated. It also clarified that players not on the watch list are still eligible for the award.

The winner of the award will be presented with the honor on April 10.