NCAA Basketball: Midseason Wooden Award nominees announced

New faces dominate recently announced Wooden Award Midseason Watch List.

The Wooden Award Midseason Watch List was revealed on Wednesday. It included numerous new faces not seen on last year’s Midseason Watch List or even this year’s Preseason Watch List.

The candidates are: Dwayne Bacon (Florida State), Lonzo Ball (UCLA), Joel Berry II (North Carolina), Jaron Blossomgame (Clemson), Dillon Brooks (Oregon), De’Aaron Fox (Kentucky), Markelle Fultz (Washington), Ethan Happ (Wisconsin), Josh Hart (Villanova), Nigel Hayes (Wisconsin), Josh Jackson (Kansas), Justin Jackson (North Carolina), Luke Kennard (Duke), T.J. Leaf (UCLA), Lauri Markkanen (Arizona), Kelan Martin (Butler), Frank Mason III (Kansas), Malik Monk (Kentucky), Monte Morris (Iowa State), Johnathan Motley (Baylor), Alec Peters (Valparaiso), Caleb Swanigan (Purdue), Melo Trimble (Maryland), Maurice Watson Jr. (Creighton) and Nigel Williams-Goss (Gonzaga).

The list was chopped in half since the preseason, which included 50 of the nation’s top players heading into the season.

Four players not seen in the Preseason Watch List are now on the midseason list. Baylor’s Motley (junior), Butler’s Martin (junior), Duke’s Kennard (sophomore) and UCLA’s Leaf (freshman) were the four new additions. The quartet have all been very surprising so far this year. All four players’ teams rank inside the top 12 of the most recent AP Poll, and portions of that success are credited to these shocking impact players.

Seven freshmen appeared on this list. Both Kentucky (Monk and Fox) and UCLA (Ball and Leaf) have multiple freshmen on the list. Seven seniors emerged on the list as well, headed by Hart and Mason. Both are frontrunners for the Player of the Year at the moment.

Only two players on the list are from mid-major schools, including Peters (senior) and Williams-Goss (junior).

The ACC and the Pac-12 have the most representatives on the list with five. For the ACC, North Carolina holds two of those five, with Jackson and Berry both making the preseason and midseason list. In February, a top 20 will be unveiled before the winner is announced in April.

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