OGDEN — Weber State junior Damian Lillard has been named to the John Wooden Award Midseason Top 25 list, which was announced Tuesday by The Los Angeles Athletic Club on ESPNU's The Experts sports talk show. Selected by the Wooden Award National Advisory Board, the list is made up of 25 student-athletes who, based on their performances in November, December, and the beginning of January, are the frontrunners for college basketball's most prestigious honor.
Lillard has led Weber State to a 14-3 overall record and a 6-0 start in Big Sky Conference games. He has led the nation in scoring since late November and is now averaging 25.5 points per game. He is also currently third in the country in three-pointers made per game at 3.5. He is ninth in the nation in free throw percentage at 90.8 percent and is 16th in three-point field goal percentage at 45.7.
The Oakland, Calif., native has scored in double figures in all 17 games for the Wildcats this season and has scored 20 or more points in 13 of 17 games. He scored a career-high 41 points in WSU's double-overtime win over San Jose State on Dec. 3.
The junior guard is also moving up the Weber State career record list. In last Saturday's win over Montana Lillard passed Willie Sojourner for fourth all-time in career scoring. He now has 1,583 career points which ranks him fourth in WSU history and 20th in Big Sky Conference history. Lillard needs 31 more points to pass Jermaine Boyette for third all-time and needs 42 more points to pass Jimmy Degraffenried for second school history. He is also currently second in WSU history in career three-pointers at 211 and needs 31 more to pass John Hamilton for first place.
Earlier this season Lillard was selected as a finalist for the Bob Cousy Award, recognizing the nation's top point guard. On Jan. 10 he was honored as the National Player of the Week by the United States Basketball Writers Association.
Lillard is the first Wildcat named to the Wooden watch list since Harold Arceneaux in the 1999-2000 season.
All collegiate basketball players, including transfers, freshmen and medical redshirts are eligible for this midseason list. In addition, all players will be evaluated and considered for the official voting ballot released in March. The National Ballot consists of approximately 20 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. The John R. Wooden Award All American Team will be announced the week of the ??Elite Eight?? round during the NCAA Tournament, making it unique among college postseason awards because it takes into account performance in the postseason.
The Big Ten, SEC, ACC and Big East conferences boast four selections apiece to the Midseason Top 25, followed by the Big 12 with three. The Missouri Valley Conference, Conference USA, MAAC, Big West, Mountain West and Big Sky each had one player selected.
The 36th annual Wooden Award Gala, will take place on Friday, April 6, 2012, and will honor winners, All Americans and the Legends of Coaching winner Geno Auriemma of Connecticut. The John R. Wooden Award winner will be announced the weekend of the Final Four in New Orleans, Louisiana.
About the John R. Wooden AwardComment on this story
Created in 1976 and named after the Hall of Fame player, coach and teacher, 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 ('79), Michael Jordan ('84), Tim Duncan ('97), Blake Griffin ('09) and Maya Moore of Connecticut ('09 and '11). BYU's Jimmer Fredette was the Wooden Award winner in 2011.