Wooden Award finalists named

Updated: March 6, 2012, 6:20 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Freshmen Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist of Kentucky and Austin Rivers of Duke are among 15 finalists for the John R. Wooden Award, announced Tuesday morning.

The award, named for the late Hall of Fame coach, is awarded to the nation's best player by a panel of voters. A candidate must have a cumulative grade-point average of 2.0 or better during his college career. A candidate's performance in the regular season, conference tournaments and postseason is considered by voters, as is the player's character.

Preseason All-American Jared Sullinger of Ohio State and Doug McDermott of Creighton, both sophomores, round out the underclassmen among the finalists.

Leading upperclassmen among the finalists are junior Thomas Robinson of Kansas and senior Tyler Zeller of North Carolina, whose teams have spent much of the season in the top 10 of the polls.

Kevin Durant is the only player to win the award as a freshman, in 2007.

The winner will be announced on ESPN at the Final Four in New Orleans and the award will be presented April 6 at the Los Angeles Athletic Club.

Frontcourt players represent 10 of the 15 finalists, led by Sullinger, McDermott, Kidd-Gilchrist, Davis, Robinson and Zeller.

Other forwards nominated as finalists include seniors Jae Crowder of Marquette, Draymond Green of Michigan State, Kevin Jones of West Virginia and Kris Joseph of Syracuse.

At guard, Rivers is joined by seniors Marcus Denmon of Missouri and Scott Machado of Iona, and juniors Isaiah Canaan of Murray State and Damian Lillard of Weber State.

The award was established by the Los Angeles Athletic Club in 1976 and first awarded in 1977. Past honorees include Hall of Famers Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, Chris Mullin and David Robinson.

Jimmer Fredette of BYU, now with the NBA's Sacramento Kings, was last year's recipient.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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