In early February, it's clear that the Wooden Award is
Buddy Hield's to lose. Editor's Picks
The Wooden Award is still Buddy Hield's to lose, but with Villanova sitting atop the rankings, the Wildcats' best player -- junior guard Josh Hart -- shouldn't go unnoticed.
The rematch between Kansas and Oklahoma has a lot to live up to, but if Saturday's Big 12 duel is anywhere close to as good as the first installment, fans are in for a treat.
Lon Kruger didn't go by the book in turning Oklahoma into an elite team. The Sooners are a veteran team of onetime unheralded recruits who are burying opponents with 3-pointers.
Hield, who is averaging 25.7 points per game for No. 3
Oklahoma and is shooting 50 percent from beyond the arc, is joined by LSU star Ben Simmons and four ACC standouts on the Wooden Award Late-Season Top 20, which was released Wednesday.
Hield is one of three Big 12 stars featured on the list that also includes
Kansas' Perry Ellis and Iowa State's Georges Niang. Wichita State's Fred VanVleet and Indiana's Yogi Ferrell, two players who did not make the Wooden Award Midseason Top 25 last month, are included on the late season list. Meanwhile, Kentucky's Jamal Murray (18.3 points), Kansas' Wayne Selden Jr. (14.5 points, 45 percent from the 3-point line) and North Carolina's Marcus Paige (12.9 points) are three of the seven players who fell out of the top 20 after being on the midseason list.
There's still time for all candidates, however, as anyone not on this list can still make the final 15 next month and earn a spot among the five finalists after that.
So players such as
Oregon's Dillon Brooks (16.9 points, 6.0 rebounds) and Duke's Brandon Ingram (16.9 points, 6.7 rebounds, 1.6 blocks) could all crash the list in the next round.
Wooden Award Late-Season Top 20 Watch List Player School Pos. Class Grayson Allen Duke G So. Malcolm Brogdon Virginia G Sr. Kris Dunn Providence G Jr. Perry Ellis Kansas F Sr. Kay Felder Oakland G Jr. Yogi Ferrell Indiana G Sr. Buddy Hield Oklahoma G Sr. Brice Johnson North Carolina F Sr. Damion Lee Louisville G Sr. Nic Moore SMU G Sr. Georges Niang Iowa State F Sr. Gary Payton II Oregon State G Sr. Jakob Poetl Utah F So. Ben Simmons LSU F Fr. Melo Trimble Maryland G So. Tyler Ulis Kentucky G So. Jarrod Uthoff Iowa G So. Denzel Valentine Michigan State G Sr. Fred VanVleet Wichita State G Sr. Kyle Wiltjer Gonzaga F Sr.
The Wooden Award will be presented during the weekend of April 7-9 as part of ESPN's College Basketball Awards show. The men's and women's Wooden All-American teams will be honored as well. Tubby Smith, head coach at Texas Tech, will receive the 2016 Legends of Coaching award.