Kentucky freshmen Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist were named to the Midseason Top 25 for the John R. Wooden Award. Finalists for the award were announced on ESPNU's show "The Experts" on Tuesday afternoon.
The two star forwards came to Kentucky as consensus top-five players in the class of 2012 and have lived up to every ounce of that billing in helping lead UK to a 17-1 record and a No. 2 national ranking.
Davis, the projected No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, is averaging 13.1 points, a team-leading 10.2 rebounds, 4.6 blocks and 1.6 steals. He has posted nine double-doubles in his 18 collegiate games while also etching his name in UK record books with his prolific shot blocking. With 82 blocks on the season, Davis ranks first in the nation and is just two shy of setting a school record for single season blocks. One of the Chicago, Ill., native's blocks is among the most memorable plays of the 2011-12. In a classic showdown between Kentucky and No. 5 North Carolina, Davis preserved a 73-72 victory with a block of fellow Wooden Award finalist John Henson.
In his short UK career, Kidd-Gilchrist has established a reputation as a fierce competitor, one he has earned through clutch performances in his team's biggest games. Kidd-Gilchrist had his first career double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds in the victory over North Carolina and his second in a 24-point, 19-rebound effort in a win over fourth-ranked Louisville in UK's annual rivalry game. On the season, the native of Somerdale, N.J., is averaging 13.4 points, 7.7 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.2 blocks.
UK is one of just three schools with multiple finalist for the Wooden Award, which recognizes "The Outstanding College Basketball Player in the United States." Henson is joined by North Carolina teammates Kendall Marshall and Harrison Barnes while Ohio State's Jared Sullinger and William Buford each earned nods.
Jimmer Fredette of BYU won the award in 2011, joining past distinguished winners like Larry Bird (1979), Michael Jordan (1984), Tim Duncan (1997) and Blake Griffin (2009).
Here is the complete list of finalists in alphabetical order:
Name Ht. Yr. Pos. University Conference
Harrison Barnes 6-8 So. F North Carolina ACC
Will Barton 6-6 So. G Memphis Conference USA
William Buford 6-6 Sr. G Ohio State Big Ten
Anthony Davis 6-10 Fr. F Kentucky SEC
Marcus Denmon 6-3 Sr. G Missouri Big 12
Draymond Green 6-7 Sr. F Michigan State Big Ten
John Henson 6-11 Jr. F North Carolina ACC
John Jenkins 6-4 Jr. G Vanderbilt SEC
Orlando Johnson 6-5 Sr. G UC Santa Barbara Big West
Darius Johnson-Odom 6-2 Sr. G Marquette Big East
Kevin Jones 6-8 Sr. F West Virginia Big East
Perry Jones III 6-11 So. F Baylor Big 12
Kris Joseph 6-7 Sr. F Syracuse Big East
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist 6-7 Fr. F Kentucky SEC
Jeremy Lamb 6-5 So. G/F Connecticut Big East
Damian Lillard 6-3 Jr. G Weber State Big Sky
Scott Machado 6-1 Sr. G Iona MAAC
Doug McDermott 6-7 So. F Creighton Missouri Valley
Mike Moser 6-8 So. F UNLV Mountain West
Arnett Moultrie 6-11 Jr. F Mississippi State SEC
Thomas Robinson 6-10 Jr. F Kansas Big 12
Mike Scott 6-8 Sr. F Virginia ACC
Jared Sullinger 6-9 So. F Ohio State Big Ten
Cody Zeller 6-11 Fr. F Indiana Big Ten