LOS ANGELES - Xavier's Amber Harris and Ta'Shia Phillips have been named to the Wooden Award Final Ballot for the second consecutive season. The John R. Wooden Award is the most prestigious individual honor in college basketball. It is bestowed upon the nation's best player at an institution of higher education.
The John R. Wooden Award National Ballots were sent out today by The Los Angeles Athletic Club to nearly 1,000 members of the media who cover college basketball. Selected by the Wooden Award National Advisory Board, the ballot is made up of 20 student-athletes who, based on their performances throughout the season, are the candidates for college basketball's most prestigious honors. All 20 players have proven to their universities that they are also making progress toward graduation and are maintaining at least a cumulative 2.0 GPA. The Wooden Award Women's All American Teams will be announced the week of the "Elite Eight" round during the NCAA Tournament, making it unique among college postseason awards. Voters have until Monday, March 28 at Noon PDT to return their ballots.
Stanford's trio of Pac-10 Player of the Year Jeanette Pohlen; returning Wooden All American Nnemkadi Ogwumike; and standout forward Kayla Pedersen lead the women's ballot, along with 2009 Wooden Award winner Maya Moore of Connecticut. A three-time Wooden Award All American, Moore looks to become only the second four-time All American pick in the history of the Award; Courtney Paris of Oklahoma achieved the feat from 2006-09. This season, Moore has led the Huskies to another dominating season and a fourth straight Big East title, averaging 22.8 points, 7.9 rebounds and 4.3 assists.
Xavier placed two players on the women's ballot, Phillips and Harris, who are two of the unprecedented 10 returnees to the Wooden Award ballot from 2010. Three players made the ballot (Pohlen, Northwestern's Amy Jaeschke and Kalisha Keane of Michigan State) despite not being nominated as Midseason Candidates. The conference breakdown is Pac-10 (3), Big 12 (3), Big Ten (3), Big East (3), ACC (2), SEC (2), CAA (1) and West Coast (1).
The 35th annual Wooden Award ceremony, which will include the announcement of the men's and women's Wooden Award winners, a tribute to Coach Wooden and Wooden Award Founder, Duke Llewellyn, and the presentation of the Wooden Award All American Team trophies and the Legends of Coaching Award to Michigan State Head Coach Tom Izzo, will take place April 8, 2011 at The Los Angeles Athletic Club.
About the John R. Wooden Award
Created in 1976, the John R. Wooden Award is the most prestigious individual honor in college basketball. It is bestowed upon the nation's best player at an institution of higher education who has proven to his or her university that he or she is making progress toward graduation and maintaining a minimum cumulative 2.0 GPA. Previous winners include such notables as Larry Bird ('79), Michael Jordan ('84), Tim Duncan ('97), Blake Griffin ('09) and Maya Moore of Connecticut ('09). Ohio State's Evan Turner and Connecticut's Tina Charles won the Award in 2010.
Since its inception, the John R. Wooden Award has contributed close to a million dollars to universities' general scholarship fund in the names of the All American recipients. The Award has also sent more than 1,000 underprivileged children to week-long college basketball camps in the Award's name. Additionally, the John R. Wooden Award partners with Special Olympics Southern California (SOSC) each year to host the Wooden Award Special Olympics Southern California Basketball Tournament. The tournament, which brings together Special Olympic athletes and the All Americans, takes place at The Los Angeles Athletic Club the morning after the John R. Wooden Award Ceremony.