The Wooden Award preseason top 50 has been unveiled for the 2012-13 college basketball season. Freshmen and transfers are not eligible, but they can be added to the list as the season progresses and ultimately win the award.
The John R. Wooden Award has been distributed since 1977, when UCLA’s Marques Johnson captured it. Media members vote on a list of candidates established by the award’s national advisory board toward the end of the season.
Here’s a rundown of the area players who cracked the preseason watch list (alphabetical order):
Pierre Jackson, G, Baylor: Jackson (13.8 ppg, 5.9 apg) leads one of the nation’s top backcourts in Waco. Baylor’s leader makes the Bears Kansas’ greatest threat in the Big 12 race.
Tony Mitchell, F, North Texas: Mitchell (14.7 ppg, 10.3 rpg) nearly led the Mean Green to the NCAA tournament as a freshman. The double-double machine (10 for North Texas last season even though he wasn’t eligible until mid-December) is a projected lottery pick in next summer’s NBA draft.
Le'Bryan Nash, G/F, Oklahoma State: The athletic, versatile player (13.3 ppg) made a splash in his freshman season in 2011-12. Paired with freshman Marcus Smart, Nash & Co. could spice up the Big 12 title race.
The rules place limits on the players who can be included on the award’s initial watch list. And 50 slots aren’t necessarily enough to peg every potential candidate. So here’s a list of 15 players -- including transfers and freshmen -- who could make the midseason and final watch lists for the John R. Wooden Award.
Isaiah Austin, Baylor
Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State