Ellis and Selden Named to Wooden Award Midseason Top 25

Link WoodenAward.com

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Kansas men’s basketball student-athletes Perry Ellis and Wayne Selden Jr., have been named to the John R. Wooden Award presented by Wendy’s Midseason Top 25, the Los Angeles Athletic Club announced Tuesday.

Chosen by a poll of national college basketball experts, the list is comprised of 25 student-athletes who are the frontrunners for the John R. Wooden Award, based on their performances during the first half of the 2015-16 season. Kansas is one of four schools to have two representatives on the list along with Gonzaga, Kentucky and North Carolina.

Ellis is the only player in the Big 12 to rank in the top six in scoring, fourth at 16.3 points per game, and rebounding, sixth at 6.9 boards per contest. The Wichita, Kansas senior forward has five games with 20-plus points this season, including two of his last three outings. He has two double-doubles on the season with both coming in league play. The 2015 Big 12 Men’s Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year, who was an All-Big 12 First Team selection as a junior, also ranks among the Big 12 leaders in field goal percentage (13th at 50.3) and free throw percentage (12th at 76.7).

Selden is seventh in the Big 12 with a 15.2 scoring average and is second in the league 3-point field goals made at 2.7 per contest. The Roxbury, Massachusetts junior guard is seventh in the conference in field goal percentage at 52.7 percent and fourth in 3-point field goal percentage at 50.6 percent. Selden has scored 20 or more points in four games, including two of KU’s four Big 12 contests. Earlier this season he was named Maui Invitational co-Most Valuable player, along with KU teammate Frank Mason III, and joined Ellis on the event’s all-tournament team.

The players on the list are considered strong candidates for the 2016 John R. Wooden Award. The leading candidates will be further pared to 20 top players in early February. Fifteen top players who have proven to their universities that they are also making progress toward graduation and maintaining at least a cumulative 2.0 GPA will be submitted to the voters on the ballot prior to the NCAA Tournament. Every year, players have made the ballots that are not on the preseason or midseason lists. Voters are permitted to take into consideration the opening rounds of the NCAA Tournament when casting the ballot. The ten-man Wooden Award All-American Team will be announced the week of the “Elite Eight” round of the NCAA Tournament.

On the 2016 Wooden Award Midseason Top 25 list, five players not on the Preseason Top 50 were named to the Midseason Top 25: Selden, Ryan Anderson of Arizona, Kay Felder of Oakland, Damion Lee of Louisville and Jarrod Uthoff of Iowa.

The 40th annual presentation of the John R. Wooden Award will be the anchor presentation of the ESPN College Basketball Awards Show presented by Wendy’s. The men’s and women’s Wooden All-American Teams will be honored during the ceremony, as well as the 2016 Legends of Coaching Award, which will be presented to Tubby Smith, Head Men’s Basketball Coach at Texas Tech. The event will take place the weekend of April 7-9, 2016.

Created in 1976, the John R. Wooden Award program features the most prestigious individual honors in college basketball. The Wooden Award Trophy 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 while maintaining a minimum cumulative 2.0 GPA. The unique Wooden Award trophy is presented to a man and woman each year. Previous winners include such notables as Kansas’ Danny Manning (’88), Larry Bird (’79), Michael Jordan (’84), Tim Duncan (’97), Candace Parker (’07 and ’08), Kevin Durant (’09), Maya Moore (’09 and ’11), Trey Burke (’13) and Doug McDermott (’14). Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky won the 2015 Wooden Award presented by Wendy’s and Breanna Stewart of Connecticut won the 2015 Wooden Award.

Since its inception, the John R. Wooden Award has contributed close to a million dollars to the general scholarship fund of the honoree’s University in the name of the All-American recipient. The Award has also enabled more than 1,000 underprivileged children to week-long basketball camps in the Award’s name. Additionally, the John R. Wooden Award partners with the Special Olympics Southern California (SOSC) each year to host the Wooden Award Special Olympics Southern California Basketball Tournament. The day-long tournament takes place at the Los Angeles Athletic Club the weekend of the John R. Wooden Award presentation, and brings together Special Olympics athletes and the Wooden Award All-Americans.

No. 1/1 Kansas (14-2, 3-1) will play host to TCU (9-6, 1-2) on Saturday, Jan. 16, at 1 p.m. (Central). Tip from historic Allen Fieldhouse will be at 1 p.m. and the game will be televised on ESPN. Kansas has won 32 straight games in Allen Fieldhouse.

Complete list of the John R. Wooden Award Midseason Top 25 selections (alphabetical order):

Grayson Allen, Duke
Ryan Anderson, Arizona
Malcolm Brogdon, Virginia
Kris Dunn, Providence
Perry Ellis, KANSAS
Kay Felder, Oakland
Daniel Hamilton, Connecticut
Buddy Hield, Oklahoma
Brice Johnson, North Carolina
Damion Lee, Louisville
Caris LeVert, Michigan
Nic Moore, SMU
Jamal Murray, Kentucky
Georges Niang, Iowa State
Marcus Paige, North Carolina
Gary Payton II, Oregon State
Jakob Poeltl, Utah
Domantas Sabonis, Gonzaga
Wayne Selden Jr., KANSAS
Ben Simmons, LSU
Melo Trimble, Maryland
Tyler Ulis, Kentucky
Jarrod Uthoff, Iowa
Denzel Valentine, Michigan State
Kyle Wiltjer, Gonzaga

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