Wooden Award watch list named

For the first time, the John R. Wooden Award preseason watch list can include freshmen and transfers, so it's no surprise that, in the "Year of the Freshman," the list is loaded with first-year players.

Nine of the 50 spots on the list released Tuesday are filled by freshmen, with Kansas and Kentucky accounting for three each.

Top recruit Andrew Wiggins, along with teammates Wayne Selden Jr. and Joel Embiid, represent the Jayhawks. Andrew Harrison, Julius Randle and James Young play for the Wildcats.

Other freshmen include Arizona's Aaron Gordon, Duke's Jabari Parker and Indiana's Noah Vonleh.

Despite all of the attention the freshmen are getting, the Wooden Award watch list remains top-heavy with upperclassmen. Seventeen seniors made the initial list, including two-time Creighton All-American Doug McDermott, who finished third in last year's balloting.

Oklahoma State sophomore Marcus Smart, another finalist last season, also made the preseason watch list.

The list will be pared to 25 in January, and finalists will be announced in March. Players who did not appear on this initial preseason watch list can be added throughout the course of the season.

The Wooden Award will be presented at the Final Four in North Texas. Michigan's Trey Burke was last year's winner.