Turiaf On National Wooden Ballot

March 5, 2005

LOS ANGELES - Gonzaga University senior forward Ronny Turiaf is among the 23 finalists named by the John R. Wooden Award Committee to the official voting ballot for the 2005 Wooden Award All-American Team and Player of the Year.

The award is presented annually to the nation's top collegiate basketball player. The winner will be announced on Saturday, April 9, during a national CBS telecast of the John R. Wooden Award ceremony that will air live at 10 a.m. PST from The Los Angeles Athletic Club.

Ten NCAA conferences are represented on the ballot, including the ACC (5), America East (1), Big 10 (3), Big 12 (3), Big East (3), Conference USA (1), Mountain West (1), Pac-10 (3), SEC (2), and the West Coast Conference (1).

The ballot for the most prestigious individual honor in college basketball also includes three 2003-04 Wooden Award All-Americans including Ryan Gomes (Providence), John Lucas (Oklahoma State) and Lawrence Roberts (Mississippi State). Luther Head of Illinois is the only candidate on the national ballot who was not a Wooden Award Mid-season nominee. In total, 11 juniors, 10 seniors and two sophomores are represented.

"Each of these players should be commended for their athletic and academic achievements as they have all met the comprehensive Wooden Award criteria," said Richard "Duke" Llewellyn, founder and chairman of the Wooden Award. "This year's race for the Wooden Award is wide open, and we look forward to closely following both the conference and national tournament to see who will emerge from the talent-rich field of national finalists."

Turiaf, the West Coast Conference Player of the Year, is averaging 16.6 ppg and 9.3 rpg for the 23-4 and 12th-ranked Bulldogs. Gonzaga is awaiting its semifinal opponent for Sunday's game in the West Coast Conference Tournament currently underway at Santa Clara University.

In order to be considered for the national ballot, all players must have been accredited by their university as meeting the Wooden Award criteria which includes making normal progress towards graduation and maintaining a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher. It should be noted that all players considered for the national ballot, including those on the mid-season list, were deemed eligible as meeting the Wooden Award academic requirements.

A panel of more than 1,000 voters comprised of sports media members and college basketball experts from around the nation will have until noon PST on Monday, March 28, to cast their votes for both the 10-member All-American Team and Wooden Award recipient as the most outstanding collegiate basketball player in the United States. The Wooden Award opts for the March 28 deadline because it allows voters to evaluate players up until the Final Four has been determined.

The 2005 award ceremony, which will include the presentation of the Men's and Women's Wooden Award, the Wooden Award All-American Teams, and Legends of Coaching award recipient Jim Calhoun of the University of Connecticut, will be held at The Los Angeles Athletic Club on April 9, 2005, and will be broadcast live on a national CBS telecast. The top five male and female finalists will be invited to Los Angeles for the awards ceremony and will receive a contribution from the John R. Wooden Award Scholarship Fund for their university's general scholarship fund.

The Wooden Award Scholarship Fund was established in 2002 by Applied Materials and corporate partners through the California Community Foundation (CCF) to honor Coach Wooden's dedication as an educator and mentor. The Scholarship Fund distributed $15,000 last year to each university represented by a men's and women's Wooden Award All-American Team finalist (for a total of $150,000).

Wooden Award Ballot
(Players listed alphabetically)

Name/School                      Pos.    Ht.      Yr.
Andrew Bogut, Utah               F/C     7-0      So.
Dee Brown, Illinois               G      6-0      Jr.
Taylor Coppenrath, Vermont        F      6-9      Sr.
Ike Diogu, Arizona State          F      6-8      Jr.
Francisco Garcia, Louisville      F      6-7      Jr.
Ryan Gomes, Providence            F      6-7      Sr.
Joey Graham, Oklahoma State       F      6-7      Sr.
Luther Head, Illinois             G      6-3      Sr.
John Lucas. Oklahoma State        G      5-11     Sr.
Sean May, North Carolina         F/C     6-9      Jr.
Rashad McCants, North Carolina   F/G     6-4      Jr.
Chris Paul, Wake Forest           G      6-0      So.
J.J. Redick, Duke                 G      6-4      Jr.
Lawrence Roberts, Mississippi St. F      6-9      Sr.
Nate Robinson, Washington         G      5-9      Jr.
Wayne Simien, Kansas              F      6-9      Sr.
Craig Smith, Boston College       F      6-7      Jr.
Salim Stoudamire, Arizona         G      6-1      Sr.
Ronny Turiaf, Gonzaga             F      6-10     Sr.
Hakim Warrick, Syracuse           F      6-8      Sr.
Deron Williams, Illinois          G      6-3      Jr.
Shelden Williams, Duke            F      6-9      Jr.
Kennedy Winston, Alabama          F      6-6      Jr.



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