LOS ANGELES, CA – Saint Joseph’s star guard Jameer Nelson was named college basketball player of the year and presented with the prestigious John R. Wooden Award in a ceremony this morning at The Los Angeles Athletic Club. Coach Wooden made the announcement during a national CBS telecast of the “John R. Wooden Award Show Presented by Allstate.”
“Not only did Nelson put up tremendous numbers throughout the season, but he also elevated his teammates’ level of play and led Saint Joseph’s to its best season ever,” said Duke Llewellyn, Wooden Award chairman. “We are extremely proud to add his name to the elite list of Wooden Award winners.”
The first-ever Hawk to land the Wooden Award honor, Nelson finished ahead of other finalists including Stanford’s Josh Childress, Duke’s Chris Duhon, Connecticut’s Emeka Okafor and Lawrence Roberts of Mississippi State. The ceremony also featured Stanford Coach Mike Montgomery receiving the 2004 John R. Wooden “Legends of Coaching” Award.
The 5-foot-11 Nelson averaged 20.6 points, 4.7 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 2.9 steals this season, leading the Hawks to a 30-2 record, a No. 1 national ranking and a top seed in the NCAA Tournament. He shot 47.5 percent from the field, including 39 percent from 3-point range, and shot 79.2 percent from the free throw line. He finished as the school’s all-time leader in points (2,094) and assists (713), and his jersey already has been retired.
More than 1,000 media members and college basketball experts voted on the award. Because of the later due date, an element exclusive to the Wooden Award, voters were afforded the luxury of taking the majority of NCAA Tournament play into consideration. Voters were also instructed to base their selections on each player’s character and academic performance, essential components to an outstanding player in the eyes of the award’s namesake.
Alana Beard Makes History as First Woman to Collect the John R. Wooden Award Trophy
LOS ANGELES, CA – Duke guard Alana Beard was named women’s college basketball player of the year and winner of the inaugural Women’s Wooden Award in a ceremony this afternoon at the California Yacht Club hosted by Applied Materials. Coach John Wooden, former All-American Annie Meyers Drysdale and Joe Bronson of Applied Materials presented the trophy to Beard, the first woman in history to ever receive the Wooden Award.
“Beard has proven herself as the most valuable player this season after becoming Duke’s all-time leading scorer and the first player in history to register over 2,500 points and 400 steals,” said Wooden Award Director Mike Solum. “We are tremendously proud to crown her winner of the first Women’s Wooden Award.”
Beard finished ahead of other finalists including Penn State’s Kelly Mazzante, Stanford’s Nicole Powell, Connecticut’s Diana Taurasi and Purdue’s Shereka Wright.
Beard led the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) in scoring (19.7) and finished the season with averages of 5.4 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 2.4 steals and 1.4 blocks a contest, while leading Duke to a 30-4 record and a Mideast Region Final appearance. The Blue Devils were ranked No. 1 in the final Associated Press poll for the first time in school history. Beard culminated her career as Duke’s men’s and women’s career scoring leader with 2700 total points.
A panel of over 200 voters comprised of sports media members and women’s college basketball experts from around the nation submitted their votes to determine the final candidates and winner. In addition to evaluating player performance, voters were also asked to consider each individual’s overall character and academic success, essential components of an outstanding player in the eyes of Coach John Wooden, the Award’s namesake.
The top five finalists will receive a contribution from the John R. Wooden Award Scholarship Fund in their name to their university’s general scholarship fund. The Wooden Award Scholarship Fund was established in 2002 by Applied Materials and corporate partners through the California Community Foundation (CCF) to honor Coach Wooden’s dedication as an educator and mentor. Applied Materials distributed $15,000 last year to each university represented by a Wooden Award All-American Team finalist (Kansas, Marquette, Oklahoma, Texas and Xavier) for a total of $75,000. Additional donations to Applied Materials’ John R. Wooden Award Scholarship Fund can be made by contacting the scholarship fund through the CCF (www.calfund.org).
Created in 1976, the John R. Wooden Award is 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 university that he is making progress toward graduation and maintaining a cumulative 2.00 GPA. Previous winners include such notables as Michael Jordan (’84), Larry Bird (’79), Tim Duncan (’97) and last year’s recipient, T.J. Ford (’03). Tabulation for all voting is calculated by Deloitte & Touche.