Iowa State Cyclones’ Main Man Georges Niang a Wooden Award Finalist

Georges Niang of the Iowa State Cyclones and the Oklahoma Sooners’ Buddy Hield have been named to the final ballot for the coveted John R. Wooden Award.

Iowa State and Oklahoma have been in a battle all season, along with the Kansas Jayhawks, for top positioning in Big 12 men’s basketball.

Both teams won on this final weekend of the regular season, assuring a sec0nd-place tie in the league standings, and ISU’s Niang and OU’s Hield are the principal reasons why.

Mar 7, 2015; Norman, OK, USA; Oklahoma Sooners guard Buddy Hield (24) attempts a shot against Kansas Jayhawks forward Jamari Traylor (31) during the second half at Lloyd Noble Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Niang had 19 points in Iowa State’s 89-76 win at TCU on Saturday, and Hield had 18 points for Oklahoma, the most important of which was a game-winning tip in with 0.2 seconds left in the game, giving the Sooners a 75-73 win over league-champion Kansas.

Saturday’s game action served as a fitting backdrop for the announcement earlier in the day that Niang and Hield were among 15 finalists for the John R. Wooden Award, which recognizes the most outstanding player in college basketball every year.

Niang is averaging 15.2 points a game this season, fourth best in the conference, and has scored in double digits in his team’s last  five games. Hield has been the Big 12’s leading scorer all season. He finished the regular season with a 17.4 average. In addition, the 6-2 junior guard is sixth in the conference in steals (1.5 per game), seventh in free-throw percentage (.806) and 10th in field-goal percentage (.449), three-point percentage (.388)  and rebounding (5.7).

All of the finalists for the Wooden Award, according to the award administrators, have proved to their universities that they are making progress toward graduation and maintaining a cumulative 2.0 grade point average.

Fans can participate in the voting for the Wooden Award winner at woodenawrdvote.com

The 10-member Wooden All-America Team for 2015 will be announced on March 30, along with the five finalists for the Wooden Award.