Fazekas Named One of Top 50 Preseason Candidates for the Wooden Award
LOS ANGELES Senior forward Nick Fazekas has been named one of the top 50 preseason candidates for the 2006-07 Wooden Award All-American Team, the John R. Wooden Award announced Wednesday.
The list is composed of 50 student athletes who, based on last year’s individual performance and team records, are the early frontrunners for college basketball’s most coveted trophy. These top 50 candidates are comprised of returning players, although transfers, freshmen, medical redshirts and other players who excel throughout the season will be evaluated and considered for both the Midseason top 30 list and the National Ballot. Players not on the preseason list are eligible for the midseason top 30 and ballot.
“With so many talented players across the country the committee had a tough time deciding on 50 candidates,” said Duke Llewellyn, Wooden Award chairman. “15 conferences are represented this year, which shows the parity in college basketball today. These preseason selections represent the elite and our team at the Wooden Award is excited to see the best players in the nation prove their case as college basketball’s player of the year.”
Last year, Fazekas was one of 22 players on the final ballot for the Wooden Award. A two-time Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year and a 2006 third-team Associated Press All-American, Fazekas led the WAC and ranked in the top 20 in the nation in scoring with 21.8 points per game. The 2005-06 United States Basketball Writers Association Division VIII Player of the Year, he also ranked second in the conference and in the national top 20 in rebounding with 10.4 boards per game one year ago. The 2006-07 WAC Preseason Player of the Year and a first-team preseason All-America selection by several preseason magazines, Fazekas heads into his senior year second on the Nevada career scoring list with 1,812 career points. He has already set the school’s record for career blocked shots with 144 and ranks in the Wolf Pack top five for career field goals and free throws made.
LSU’s star forward, Glen Davis, is the only preseason candidate who was honored last year as a member of the 2006 Wooden Award All-American Team. Tyler Hansbrough (
Candidates have been selected from 15 NCAA conferences, up from 11 last year. Conferences include the ACC (eight players), the Big 12 (eight players), the Pac-10 (seven players), the Big East (seven players), the SEC (six players), the Big 10 (four players), the Mountain West (two players), the Atlantic 10 (one player), the Conf. USA (one player), the Western Athletic (one player), the Mid Continent (one player), the Sun Belt (one player), the Horizon League (one player), the Colonial Athletic Association (one player), and the Big Sky (one player).
Smaller conferences saw their star players and teams represented by the Wooden Award’s preseason selection; a testament to the increased talent level across the country. However, the college basketball juggernauts have made their presence felt as well with several big name schools having multiple players nominated. The returning 2006 National Champions,
In January, the Wooden Award committee will release the midseason top 30 followed by the national ballot in early March. On Tuesday, March 27, the 10-player Wooden Award All-American Team will be announced. The 2007 Award ceremony, which will include the presentation of the Men’s and Women’s Wooden Award, the Wooden Award All-American Teams, and the Legends of Coaching Award to recipient Gene Keady of
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 cumulative 2.0 GPA. Previous winners include such notables as Larry Bird (’79), Michael Jordan (’84), Tim Duncan (’97), Andrew Bogut (’05), and last year’s recipients, Seimone Augustus (’06) and J.J. Redick.
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 as well as sent over 1,000 underprivileged children to week-long college basketball camps in the awards 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 day-long tournament, which brings together Special Olympic athletes and the All-American selections, takes place at The Los Angeles Athletic Club on the Friday prior to the John R. Wooden Award Ceremony.
Wooden Award Preseason
All-American Team Top 50 Candidates
(Based on a preseason poll. Players listed alphabetically.)