LOS ANGELES -- The John R. Wooden Award, the preeminent men’s collegiate basketball player of the year award, was presented this evening at The Los Angeles Athletic Club by Coach John Wooden’s son, Jim, to Brigham Young senior Jimmer Fredette. Jim Wooden made the announcement and presented Fredette with the Wooden Award trophy whose unique design was inspired by Coach Wooden’s idea of the “total basketball player.” The 35th annual Wooden Award is the first since the passing of both Coach Wooden and Wooden Award co-founder Duke Llewellyn in June of 2010.
Fredette earned college basketball’s most prestigious honor after averaging a nation-leading 28.9 points while taking the Cougars to the Sweet 16, a 32-5 record, and a regular season Mountain West Conference title. He also shot 89.4 percent from the free throw line and led his team in assists (4.3). In 2011, he was the MWC Player of the Week seven times and he averaged 32.7 points in three NCAA Tournament games.
Fredette is the first BYU player to win the Wooden Award since Danny Ainge in 1981. A native of Glens Falls, N.Y., the 6-2 guard broke Ainge's BYU scoring record, finishing his career with 2,599 points, including a school-record 1,068 points in 2010-11. He had 15 30-point games and four 40-point games during his remarkable senior season.
Voters include nearly 1,000 members of the college basketball media who selected and ranked 10 players. All five men’s finalists were in attendance at the Wooden Award Gala. Fredette had 3,761 points, followed by Connecticut’s Kemba Walker with 3,356; Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger with 2,637; Duke’s Nolan Smith with 2,371; and Arizona’s Derrick Williams with 1,913. The 10-player All America team also included Ben Hansbrough, Notre Dame; JaJuan Johnson, Purdue; Kawhi Leonard, San Diego State; Marcus Morris, Kansas; and Jacob Pullen, Kansas State.
All players proved to their universities that they are making progress toward graduation and are maintaining at least a cumulative 2.0 GPA. Voters were asked to take into account performance during the regular season and postseason through the Elite Eight as well as a player’s character and academic performance, essential components of an outstanding player. The winner received a contribution from The Los Angeles Athletic Club for their university’s general scholarship fund.
In addition to honoring the Wooden All-America teams, the “Legends of Coaching” Award was presented by Nan Wooden Muehlhausen, Coach Wooden’s daughter, to Michigan State Head Coach Tom Izzo, who led the Spartans to their 14th straight NCAA Tournament appearance this year. Maya Moore won the 2011 John R. Wooden Award on the women’s side. Previous winners include such notables as Larry Bird (’79), Michael Jordan (’84), Tim Duncan (’97), and Blake Griffin (’09). Ohio State’s Evan Turner and Connecticut’s Tina Charles won the Award in 2010.
Since its inception, the John R. Wooden Award has contributed close to a million dollars to universities’ general scholarship fund in the names of the All American recipients. The Award has also sent more than 1,000 underprivileged children to weeklong college basketball camps in the Award’s name. Additionally, the John R. Wooden Award partners with Special Olympics Southern California (SOSC) each year to host the Wooden Award Special Olympics Southern California Basketball Tournament. The tournament, which brings together Special Olympic athletes and the All-Americans, takes place at The Los Angeles Athletic Club tomorrow morning.
All-time John R. Wooden Award Winners
1977 Marques Johnson University of California, Los Angeles
1978 Phil Ford University of North Carolina
1979 Larry Bird Indiana State University
1980 Darrell Griffith University of Louisville
1981 Danny Ainge Brigham Young University
1982 Ralph Sampson University of Virginia
1983 Ralph Sampson University of Virginia
1984 Michael Jordan University of North Carolina
1985 Chris Mullin Saint John’s University
1986 Walter Berry Saint John’s University
1987 David Robinson United States Naval Academy
1988 Danny Manning University of Kansas
1989 Sean Elliott University of Arizona
1990 Lionel Simmons La Salle University
1991 Larry Johnson University of Nevada, Las Vegas
1992 Christian Laettner Duke University
1993 Calbert Cheaney Indiana University
1994 Glenn Robinson Purdue University
1995 Ed O’Bannon University of California, Los Angeles
1996 Marcus Camby University of Massachusetts
1997 Tim Duncan Wake Forest University
1998 Antawn Jamison University of North Carolina
1999 Elton Brand Duke University
2000 Kenyon Martin University of Cincinnati
2001 Shane Battier Duke University
2002 Jason Williams Duke University
2003 T.J. Ford University of Texas
2004 Jameer Nelson St. Joseph's
2005 Andrew Bogut University of Utah
2006 J.J. Redick Duke University
2007 Kevin Durant University of Texas
2008 Tyler Hansbrough University of North Carolina
2009 Blake Griffin University of Oklahoma
2010 Evan Turner Ohio State University
2011 Jimmer Fredette Brigham Young University