Olynyk Named Wooden Award Top 15 National Ballot Finalist

            LOS ANGELES - Gonzaga University junior Kelly Olynyk has been named one of 15 finalists for The John R. Wooden Award Ballot announced Saturday by The Los Angeles Athletic Club on ESPN College GameDay.

            Selected by the Wooden Award National Advisory Board, the ballot is made up of 15 student-athletes who are eligible for college basketball's most prestigious honor. All balloted players have proven to their universities that they are making progress toward graduation and are maintaining at least a cumulative 2.0 GPA.

            The native of Kamloops, British Columbia, is averaging 17.7 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 1.7 assists/game and 1.2 blocks/game. He has helped the Bulldogs post a 29-2 regular-season which garnered the Bulldogs their inaugural No. 1 ranking in the Associated Press and USA Today polls this week.

            Olynyk was named the West Coast Conference Player of the Year and was also a Capital One College Sports Information Directors of the Year Academic All-America selection with his 3.53 GPA. He graduated in December with a degree in accounting and is currently enrolled in Gonzaga's MBA program.

            The Wooden Award All American Team, consisting of the nation's top 10 players, will be announced the week of the "Elite Eight" round of the NCAA Tournament. The John R. Wooden Award Player of the Year presented by Wendy's will be announced on ESPN during the Final Four Weekend in Atlanta. The 2013 Wooden Award Gala presented by Wendy's will take place April 11-13 at The Los Angeles Athletic Club. The Gala will honor the Men's and Women's Wooden Award winners, All Americans and the Legends of Coaching Award winner, Kansas Head Coach Bill Self.

            Among the student-athletes chosen to the Wooden Award ballot were three players who did not make the Midseason Top 25 - Olynyk, Indiana's Victor Oladipo and Miami's Shane Larkin. Other notable selections include the nation's top scorer, Erick Green of Virginia Tech (25.0 ppg), and three freshmen: Anthony Bennett of UNLV, redshirt freshman Ben McLemore of Kansas, and Oklahoma State's Marcus Smart.

I           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), Candace Parker ('07 and '08), Kevin Durant ('09) and Maya Moore of Connecticut ('09 and '11). Kentucky freshman Anthony Davis won the men's Award in 2012.

            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 day-long tournament, which brings together Special Olympic athletes and the All Americans, takes place at The Los Angeles Athletic Club the weekend of the John R. Wooden Award Gala.


 

 

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