Cauley-Stein on Midseason Wooden Award Watch List
LOS ANGELES - Junior Willie Cauley-Stein was named to the Los Angeles Athletic Club Midseason Top 25 list of players who are considered the frontrunners for college basketball's John R. Wooden Award for Player of the Year.
The list of 25 was announced on ESPN's SportsCenter and on ESPN.com. Chosen by a poll of national college basketball experts, the list is comprised of 25 student-athletes who are the frontrunners based on their performances during the first half of the 2014-15 season.
Cauley-Stein has started all 16 games for the top-ranked Wildcats. He's averaging 9.7 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. The Olathe, Kan., native leads UK with 27 steals on the year and he's also notched 31 blocks. Cauley-Stein is shooting at a 57.4 percent rate from the floor and 62 percent from the line.
UK's 7-foot forward has led the team in scoring three times this season, while pacing the team in rebounds on six occasions. He's logged a pair of double-doubles this season, including a career-high 21-point performance to couple with 12 rebounds in a win over then-ranked No. 6 Texas.
The Midseason Watch List honor is the first of his career.
The leading candidates will be further pared to 20 top players in early February. Fifteen 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 will be submitted to the voters on the ballot prior to the NCAA Tournament. Voting will take into consideration the opening rounds of the NCAA Tournament.
Created in 1976, the John R. Wooden Award is considered by many as 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), Candace Parker ('07 and '08), Kevin Durant ('09) and Maya Moore of Connecticut ('09 and `11).
Kentucky returns to action on Saturday, Jan. 17 at 4 p.m. ET at Alabama. The game will air live on ESPN.