Three Big 12 men’s basketball stars are among 25 players nationwide who have been named to the midseason watch list for the prestigious Wooden Award, presented each season to the best player in college basketball.
Freshman forward Andrew Wiggins of Kansas, senior guard DeAndre Kane of Iowa State and last year’s Player of the Year in the big 12, Marcus Smart of Oklahoma State, are in consideration for the award from the Big 12.
Wiggins, a McDonald’s All-American and touted as the country’s No. 1 recruit coming out of high school, is one of five freshman on the top-25 list. He leads Kansas in scoring this season, averaging 15.2 points per game, The Canadian native has five games this season of 20 or more points.. He has earned Player of the Week honors four time so far in the 2013-14 campaign.
Kane is in his first season at Iowa State, having transferred from Marshall. The 6-4 senior guard is averaging 16.7 points, 7.2 rebounds and 5.8 assists in conference games for the 16th-ranked Cyclones. Kane has been named Player of the Week in the Big 12 four times this season and earned National Player of the Week honors in late December.
Like in his freshman season, Smart is the top player on this year’s Oklahoma State team. He is averaging 17 points a game against conference opponents and also leads the 11-th-ranked Cowboys in rebounding, with 9.6 boards a game.
The 25 players in consideration for this year’s top individual prize in college basketball have proven to their schools that they are making progress toward graduation and maintaining at least a cumulative 2.o grade point average. However, players not chosen for the Wooden Award midseason top-25 watch list are still eligible for the ballot.
This is the 38th year for the Award. Four former players from current Big 12 schools have won the Wooden Award: Danny Manning of Kansas (1988), T.J. Ford (2003) and Kevin Durant (2007) of Texas and Blake Griffin of Oklahoma (2009).
The men’s and women’s Wooden Award will be presented the weekend of April 11-12.