The folks with the John R. Wooden Award announced their preseason watch list on Tuesday, and two Kentucky Wildcats made the cut. Hamidou Diallo and Kevin Knox are listed among the top players in the country in consideration for this award.
The Wooden Award is given each year to the top player in both the men’s and women’s division of college basketball. Recent winners for men’s basketball are Frank Mason III, Buddy Hield, and Frank Kaminsky.
The only Kentucky player to win the award was Anthony Davis, almost most (including myself) believe that John Wall was head and shoulders above winner Evan Turner in 2010.
There were five other SEC players joining Diallo and Knox on the watch list. KeVaughn Allen (Florida), Yante Maten (Georgia), Michael Porter Jr. (Missouri), Collin Sexton (Alabama), and Robert Williams (Texas A&M) also made the cut.
Other notable nominees include Grayson Allen and Marvin Bagley (Duke), DeVante’ Graham (Kansas), Mohamed Bamba (Texas), and Miles Bridges (Michigan State). Duke and Arizona each have three players on the list, more than any other school.
The mid-season watch list will be released in January, and that list of 25 players will be more telling as to who has a chance at winning the prestigious award.
Most analysts have not been giving any Kentucky players love in preseason predictions or draft boards, but these two definitely deserve to be on this list. If Kentucky is going to be in contention in March, the Wildcats will need both Knox and Diallo to play well enough to make the mid-season cut for the award.