Cauley-Stein Among 20 Finalists for Wooden Award
LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Athletic Club has selected Kentucky junior Willie Cauley-Stein as one of 20 finalists for the 2015 John R. Wooden Award, it was announced Wednesday.
Cauley-Stein is averaging 9.2 points and 6.3 rebounds per game for the top-ranked Wildcats. The Olathe, Kan., native has registered 11 double-figure scoring efforts throughout the season, including a 21-point, 12-rebound effort against then-No. 6 Texas in December. He leads the team with 34 steals and has also notched 39 blocks on the year.
The 7-foot forward became the first player in program history to amass 200 career blocks and 100 career steals. He’s also just one of just eight players in program history with 500 or more rebounds, 100 or more blocks and 75 or more steals.
The list of 20 players will be pared to 15 top players who have proven to their universities that they are also making progress toward graduation and maintaining at least a cumulative 2.0 grade-point average 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 (1979), Michael Jordan (1984), Tim Duncan (1997), Kevin Durant (2009) and UK’s Anthony Davis (2012).
Cauley-Stein and the Wildcats will return to action Saturday at 2 p.m. ET. UK will welcome South Carolina to Rupp Arena for the second of two regular-season matchups this season. The Wildcats earned a 58-43 win earlier this season against the Gamecocks. The game is set to air live on ESPN.
For the latest on the Kentucky men's basketball team, follow @KentuckyMBB on Twitter and on the web at UKathletics.com.