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Wooden Award Finalists Announced

College Basketball Today

Wisconsin Badgers center Frank Kaminsky leads the list of five players nominated for the John R. Wooden Award, which recognizes the most outstanding college basketball player in the country. Kaminsky and his Wisconsin teammates will see another of the finalists, Kentucky junior forward Willy Cauley-Stein up close and personal on Saturday night at the Final Four in Indianapolis.

The two big men aren’t the only Final Four participants up for the Wooden Award. Duke Blue Devils freshman center Jahlil Okafor made the cut and will get the first opportunity to showcase his skills on Saturday afternoon against the Michigan State Spartans.

Kaminsky, Cauley-Stein, and Okafor will be joined by a pair of guards in Notre Dame’s Jerian Grant and Ohio State freshman D’Angelo Russell. Grant averaged 16.5 points and 6.5 assists for the ACC Tourney champs that fell two points short of unbeaten Kentucky in the Elite Eight. Russell led all freshman in scoring with 19.3 points per game.

Okafor has all of the tools necessary to be an NBA star.

Okafor has all of the tools necessary to be an NBA star.

While the guards on the listed played well this season, the odds are that a big man is going to win the Wooden Award when it’s announced on April 10. One of Kentucky’s strengths this season was their depth, which goes part of the way in explaining why Cauley-Stein averaged only 9.1 points and 6.5 boards per contest. Conversely, the Badgers and Blue Devils needed Kaminsky and Okafor to play much bigger roles. The versatile Kaminksy poured in 18.7 points while pulling in 8.0 rebounds each night. Okafor, who is projected to be the top pick in the 2015 NBA Draft if he decides to leave Durham, registered 17.4 points and 8.6 rebounds for the season.

 

FanRag Sports Wants to Know:

Could Cauley-Stein do more?

Could Cauley-Stein do more?

Which player will win the Wooden Award?

Which team will win the NCAA Championship?

Which finalist will have the best NBA career?

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