LOS ANGELES – Coming off a stellar season that included guiding his team to a 25-win season, University of Texas guard/forward Kevin Durant 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. Durant is the first freshman to be named Wooden Award Player of the Year. Wooden Award “Legends of Coaching” recipient Gene Keady of Purdue University made the announcement during a national CBS telecast of the “John R. Wooden Award Show.”
“Throughout the season Kevin dominated opponents and showed unmatched heart while leading Texas,” said Duke Llewellyn, Wooden Award chairman. “Not only did he prove to be the most outstanding player in the nation, but he is also a tremendous student who displays the utmost character, and we are proud to add his name to the elite list of Wooden Award winners.”
The remarkable freshman finished ahead of other finalists including Ohio State’s Greg Oden, North Carolina’s Tyler Hansbrough, Texas A&M’s Acie Law and Wisconsin’s Alando Tucker (see attached for complete vote tabulation). The ceremony also featured Tennessee’s Candace Parker receiving the 2007 Women’s Wooden Award and Gene Keady of Purdue receiving the 2007 John R. Wooden “Legends of Coaching” Award.
Durant guided the Longhorns to a 25-10 record including a 15-1 home mark and finished fourth in the nation in both scoring and rebounding (25.8 ppg and 11.1 rpg). These numbers were good enough to lead the Big 12 conference and earn him Big 12 Player of the Year.
A panel consisting of more than 1,000 voters including sports media and college basketball experts from across the nation had until 3 p.m. EDT on Monday, March 26 to cast their votes for both the 10-player All-American Team and the Wooden Award Player of the Year as the most outstanding collegiate basketball player in the nation. In addition to on-court performance, voters were asked to base their votes on the student athlete’s character and academic performance, essential components of the Wooden Award. All voting results were handled and tallied by Deloitte, the official accounting firm of the John R. Wooden Award.
For the first time in Wooden Award history, college basketball fans were able to cast their vote for the Wooden Award Player of the Year. All fan votes were tabulated and counted as one ballot towards the final tally. Fans had the option of voting online at www.WoodenAward.com or by text messaging. Nearly 70,000 fans cast their vote and more than 40,000 of those were cast for the Men’s Wooden Award Player of the Year. With 12,700 votes Chris Lofton of Tennessee finished as the fans’ choice for Wooden Award Player of the Year. The rest of the fans’ top five includes Kevin Durant, A.J. Graves (Butler), Tyler Hansbrough and Alando Tucker. Women’s results are included in the Women’s Wooden Award Player of the Year release.
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.