The Late Season Top 20 List for the John R. Wooden Award was released on Wednesday, and Kentucky Wildcats De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk were two of just six freshman to receive the honor.
Just a day after being named to that list, Fox and Monk were named to the midseason top 30 for the 2017 Naismith Men’s College Player of the Year on Thursday.
Both the Wooden and Naismith Award are given to the top collegiate basketball player nationally. The only Kentucky player to ever win either award was Anthony Davis back in 2012.
De’Aaron Fox is leading the SEC in assists with 5.5 per game. He leads the team with four double-doubles, including his historic triple-double against Arizona State.
Fox’s biggest weapon is his speed, which he uses to put pressure on opposing defenses and to put up big numbers in transition. Despite missing some time recently for illness, Fox is still on track to crack the school’s top 5 list for single-season assists.
Monk leads the SEC in scoring (21.9 ppg), and is on pace to be John Calipari’s all-time single-season top scorer. He has scored in double figures in every game this season, and is likely to break Jamal Murray’s freshman records for points (720) and three-pointers (113) for a single season.
The 15 Wood Award finalists will be announced on March 4th. Those players must have maintained a 2.0 GPA and must be making progress toward graduation. Voting for the award will take place during the NCAA Tournament, with the Wooden All-American Team announced during the Elite-8.
The Wood Award winner will be announced on April 7th at ESPN College Basketball Awards Show. The 10 Naismith semifinalists will be announced March 1, and the award winner will be announced in April.
Do you think either of these Cats have a chance to be named the top player in the land?