Stepp Named Wooden Award All-American
March 30, 2004
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Gonzaga senior point guard Blake Stepp has been named a John R. Wooden Award Top 10 All-American.
After receiving the ballots of more than 1,000 voters, the Wooden Award Committee on Tuesday announced the finalists for the 28th annual Wooden Award to be presented to the college basketball player of the year April 10 during a national CBS telecast of the "John R. Wooden Award Show Presented by Allstate" live from The Los Angeles Athletic Club at 10 a.m. Pacific time.
Joining Stepp on the 10-player All-America squad are Josh Childress, Stanford; Chris Duhon, Duke; Andre Emmett, Texas Tech; Ryan Gomes, Providence; Devin Harris, Wisconsin; John Lucas, Oklahoma State; Jameer Nelson, Saint Joseph's; Emeka Okafor, Connecticut, and Lawrence Roberts, Mississippi State. The top five players, which will be announced this weekend during CBS' coverage of the Final Four, and their coaches will be invited to Los Angeles to be honored at the ceremony and to participate in additional Wooden Award weekend activities.
"Each of these 10 players has produced results both on the court and in the classroom, exemplifying all of the qualities that we search for in our All-American team members," said Richard "Duke" Llewellyn, founder and chairman of the Wooden Award. "We feel tremendously proud to have these young men representing the Wooden Award All-American team."
Stepp is the third Bulldog to receive at least Top 10 Wooden All-America status. Casey Calvary was Gonzaga's inaugural Wooden Top 10 All-America pick in 2001, and Dan Dickau was the first Bulldog to be named a Wooden Top Five All-America in 2002.
The 2004 All-American team consists of four seniors and six juniors, including Okafor, the only 2003 Wooden Award All-American. Eight conferences are represented on the All-American squad with the Big 12 and Big East leading the way with two players apiece. The ACC, Atlantic 10, Big Ten, SEC, West Coast Conference and Pacific-10 each follow with one nominated player. Three Wooden Award finalists (Duhon, Lucas and Okafor) have led their respective teams to this weekend's Final Four in San Antonio.
A panel of more than 1,000 voters comprised of media members and college basketball experts from around the nation submitted their votes over the past three weeks. Voters were asked to select 10 players from the 20 student-athletes listed on the official ballot, and rank them from 1 to 10. While other player of the year awards are voted upon prior to postseason play, the Wooden Award opts for the later March 29 deadline because it allows voters to evaluate players during the NCAA tournament. Voters were also asked to make their selections based on each candidate's character and academic performance, essential components to an outstanding player in the eyes of Coach John Wooden, the Award's namesake.
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 to Stanford Coach Mike Montgomery, will be held at The Los Angeles Athletic Club on April 10. The top five finalists will be invited to Los Angeles for the Awards ceremony and will receive a contribution from the John R. Wooden Award Scholarship Fund in their name to their university's general scholarship fund.
The John R. Wooden Award Scholarship Fund was established by Wooden Award sponsor Applied Materials through the California Community Foundation to honor Coach Wooden's dedication as a teacher and mentor. Applied Materials distributed $15,000 last year to each university represented by a Wooden Award All-American Team finalist (Kansas, Marquette, Oklahoma, Texas and Xavier) for a total of $75,000. Additional donations to Applied Materials' John R. Wooden Award Scholarship Fund can be made by contacting the scholarship fund through the CCF (www.calfund.org).
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). Tabulation for all voting is calculated by Deloitte & Touche.
2004 John R. Wooden Award
Josh Childress, 6-8, Jr., F, Stanford Chris Duhon, 6-1, Sr., G, Duke Andre Emmett, 6-5, Sr., G/F, Texas Tech Ryan Gomes, 6-7, Jr., F/C, Providence Devin Harris, 6-3, Jr., G, Wisconsin John Lucas, 5-11, Jr., G, Oklahoma State Jameer Nelson, 5-11, Sr., G, Saint Joseph's Emeka Okafor, 6-9, Jr., F/C, Connecticut Lawrence Roberts, 6-9, Jr., F/C, Mississippi State Blake Stepp, 6-4, Sr., G, Gonzaga
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