Turiaf Named Wooden Midseason Top 30 Candidate
Jan. 26, 2004
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Gonzaga junior Ronny Turiaf is one of 30 players named to the John R. Wooden Award Midseason Top 30.
The midseason list includes 2003 Wooden Award All-American Emeka Okafor (Connecticut) along with senior guards Jameer Nelson (Saint Joseph's) and Chris Duhon (Duke) who were also mentioned in the running for last year's Wooden Award. Connecticut leads the way as the only team with two nominated players in Okafor and guard Ben Gordon. Nine players that were not Wooden Award Preseason Top 50 Candidates were added to the list including Turiaf and two freshmen: Minnesota's Kris Humphries and Wake Forest's Chris Paul.
"The Midseason Selection Committee had a tough chore in narrowing the list to 30 players because there have been so many stellar teams and individual performers thus far," said Duke Llewellyn, Wooden Award chairman. "We anticipate an exciting finish to the season that will help us determine the elite candidates from this year's group of outstanding college players."
The Committee bases the Midseason Top 30 on individual player performance and team records through the early part of the season. Players who do not make the list are still eligible for consideration for the Wooden Award. After each school accredits their respective athlete(s) and ensures they meet the academic requirements, the Committee will pare the list down to a ballot consisting of approximately 20 players. The official ballot will be released in early March.
The 2004 Award ceremony, which will include the presentation of the Wooden Award All-American Team, the inaugural Women's Wooden Award and the presentation of the Legends of Coaching Award, will be held at The Los Angeles Athletic Club on Saturday, April 10, 2004 and will be broadcast live on a CBS telecast. The All-American Team will be announced on March 30, 2003 and the top five candidates will be invited to Los Angeles for the Awards ceremony. Each finalist will receive a contribution from the John R. Wooden Award Scholarship Fund in their name to their university's general scholarship fund.
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 university that he is making progress toward graduation and maintaining a cumulative 2.00 GPA. Previous winners include such notables as Michael Jordan ('84), Larry Bird ('79), Tim Duncan ('97) and last year's recipient, T.J. Ford ('03).
Dan Dickau was Gonzaga inaugural Wooden Award Top Five honoree in 2002, Casey Calvary was the first Gonzaga member of the 10-man All-America team in 2001 and Matt Santangelo was Gonzaga's inaugural Midseason Top 30 pick in 2000. Current Bulldogs Blake Stepp and Cory Violette were members of the Wooden Award Pre-Season Top 50 and could still be added to the final ballot in March.
Midseason Top 30 Candidates
(Players listed alphabetically.)
Rafael Arauio, 6-11, Sr., C, Brigham Young Andre Barrett, 5-10, Sr., G, Seton Hall Travis Diener, 6-1, Jr., G, Marquette Ike Digou, 6-8, So., F, Arizona State Chris Duhon, 6-1, Sr., G, Duke B.J. Elder, 6-4, Jr., G/F, Georgia Tech Andre Emmett, 6-5, Sr., F, Texas Tech Gerald Fitch, 6-3, Sr., G, Kentucky Matt Freije, 6-9, Sr., F, Vanderbilt Francisco Garcia, 6-7, So., F, Louisville Ryan Gomes, 6-8, Jr., F, Providence Ben Gordon, 6-02, Jr., G, Connecticut Devin Harris, 6-3, Jr., G, Wisconsin Julius Hodge, 6-6, Jr., G, North Carolina State Kris Humphries, 6-8, Fr., F, Minnesota Andre Iguodala, 6-6, So., F, Arizona Luke Jackson, 6-7, Sr., F, Oregon David Lee, 6-8, Jr., F, Florida Matt Lottich, 6-4, Sr., G, Stanford Jason Maxiell, 6-7, Jr., F, Cincinnati Sean May, 6-9, So., F/C, North Carolina Jameer Nelson, 6-1, Sr., G, Saint Joseph's Emeka Ojafor, 6-9, Jr., F/C, Connecticut Julius Page, 6-3, Sr., G, Pittsburgh Chris Paul, 6-0, Fr., G, Wake Forest Lawrence Roberts, 6-9, Jr., F, Mississippi State Romain Sato, 6-5, Sr., G, Xavier Wayne Simien, 6-8, Jr., F, Kansas Ronny Turiaf, 6-10, Jr., F, Gonzaga Hakim Warrick, 6-9, Jr., F, Syracuse
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