LOUISVILLE, Ky. – University of Louisville men’s basketball player Russ Smith is one of 25 Division I players on the John R. Wooden Award Midseason List, the Los Angeles Athletic Club announced Wednesday.
Smith is just one of two players from The American on the prestigious list.
The Brooklyn, N.Y., native is pacing the Cardinals in scoring (18.4) and has team highs in assists (90), steals (37), and 3-pointers (41). In conference play, the senior is averaging 31.5 minutes in six games and leads the conference with 21.5 points per game, 2.7 steals per game, and 60.7 percent from 3-point range, and is tied for the league lead in 3-pointers made per game with 2.8. Nationally, he is 37th in the country in total points (349) and 52nd in total assists.
Program-wise, Smith became just the fifth player in school history to reach 1,500 points and 200 steals. Following the win over Connecticut, he moved into 15th all-time on the school’s career-scoring list with 1,584 points. He needs just one steal to move into No. 3 on the school’s career list. Also, Smith is 14 free throws away from taking over No. 5 on the career list and passing Wes Unseld (426 free throws made, 1965-68).
Chosen by the Wooden Award Advisory Board, the list is comprised of 25 student-athletes who are the front-runners for the sport’s most prestigious individual honor based on their play so far this season. ESPNU will follow up at 6 p.m. ET with a half-hour show focusing on the candidates.
The players on the list are considered strong candidates for the official voting ballot, which will consist of approximately 20 top players who have proven to their universities that they are making progress toward graduation and maintaining at least a cumulative 2.0 GPA. However, players not chosen to the midseason list are still eligible for the ballot. The Wooden Award All American Team, consisting of the nation’s top 10 players, will be announced the week of the Elite Eight round of the NCAA Tournament.
About the John R. Wooden Award
The 38th annual Wooden Award ceremony will honor the Men’s and Women’s Wooden Award winners, and will include the presentation of the Wooden Award All American Teams and the Legends of Coaching Award, which, in 2013, will go to Stanford women’s basketball head coach Tara VanDerveer. The event will take place the weekend of April 11-12, 2014.
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 or her university that he or she is making progress toward graduation and maintaining a minimum cumulative 2.0 GPA. Previous winners include such notables as Larry Bird (1979), Michael Jordan (1984), Tim Duncan (1997), Candace Parker (2007, 2008), Kevin Durant (2009) and Maya Moore of Connecticut (2009, 2011). Michigan’s Trey Burke won the 2013 Wooden Award presented by Wendy’s.
Since its inception, the John R. Wooden Award has contributed close to a million dollars to universities’ general scholarship fund in the names of the All American recipients. The Award has also sent more than 1,000 underprivileged children to week-long college basketball camps in the Award’s name. Additionally, the John R. Wooden Award partners with Special Olympics Southern California (SOSC) each year to host the Wooden Award Special Olympics Southern California Basketball Tournament. The day-long tournament, which brings together Special Olympic athletes and the All Americans, takes place at The Los Angeles Athletic Club the weekend of the John R. Wooden Award Ceremony.
2013-14 John R. Wooden Award® Presented by Wendy’s® Midseason Top 25
Name Ht. Yr. Pos. School Conference
Kyle Anderson 6-9 So. G/F UCLA Pac-12
Keith Appling 6-1 Sr. G Michigan State Big Ten
Cameron Bairstow 6-9 Sr. F New Mexico Mountain West
Jordan Clarkson 6-5 Jr. G Missouri SEC
Aaron Craft 6-2 Sr. G Ohio State Big Ten
Sam Dekker 6-7 So. F Wisconsin Big Ten
Cleanthony Early 6-8 Sr. F Wichita State Missouri Valley
Tyler Ennis 6-2 Fr. G Syracuse ACC
C.J. Fair 6-8 Sr. F Syracuse ACC
Aaron Gordon 6-9 Fr. F Arizona Pac-12
Rodney Hood 6-8 So. F Duke ACC
Nick Johnson 6-3 Jr. G Arizona Pac-12
DeAndre Kane 6-4 Sr. G Iowa State Big 12
Doug McDermott *# 6-8 Sr. F Creighton Big East
Shabazz Napier 6-1 Sr. G Connecticut The American
Jabari Parker 6-8 Fr. F Duke ACC
Adreian Payne 6-10 Sr. C Michigan State Big Ten
Casey Prather 6-6 Sr. F Florida SEC
Julius Randle 6-9 Fr. F Kentucky SEC
Marcus Smart 6-4 So. G Oklahoma State Big 12
Russ Smith 6-0 Sr. G Louisville The American
T.J. Warren 6-8 So. F NC State ACC
Andrew Wiggins 6-8 Fr. G Kansas Big 12
Chaz Williams 5-9 Sr. G Massachusetts Atlantic 10
Joseph Young 6-2 Jr. G Oregon Pac-12
Players listed alphabetically
* indicates player chosen to the 2013 Wooden All American Team
# indicates player chosen to the 2012 Wooden All American Team