PThe candidate list for the Wooden Award has been cut in half, with Oklahoma State's Marcus Smart and Duke's Jabari Parker highlighting the remaining 25 players. Given annually to the best college basketball player, the Wooden Award is presented by the Los Angeles Athletic Club.
Along with Parker, freshmen on the list include Kansas' Andrew Wiggins, Kentucky's Julius Randle, Syracuse's Tyler Ennis and Arizona's Aaron Gordon. Upperclassmen receiving the nod include Creighton's Doug McDermott, Syracuse's C.J. Fair and Louisville's Russ Smith.
Notably missing is Wiggins' teammate Joel Embiid, who is No. 1 on SB Nation's Jonathan Tjarks' big board. The dominant big man can still win the award, as any player in the country can still be named a Top 15 finalist. Embiid has made a splash in his freshman season, averaging 11.1 points and 7.8 rebounds.
Here's the full list of the Top 25:
|Keith Appling||G||Michigan State|
|Cameron Bairstow||F||N. Mexico|
|Aaron Craft||G||Ohio State|
|Cleanthony Early||F||Wichita State|
|DeAndre Kane||G||Iowa State|
|Adreian Payne||C||Michigan State|
|Marcus Smart||G||Oklahoma State|
|T.J. Warren||F||N.C. State|
McDermott makes the list as the country's second-leading scorer, averaging 24.8 points per game. The Creighton forward's chances to win the award will hinge on the Bluejays' success down the stretch, as it is hard to argue that any one player is more important to his team than McDermott.
Smart is another favorite, putting up a furious stat line on a nightly basis. The sophomore averages 17.8 points, 5.8 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 2.6 steals per game as one of the nation's most versatile players.
Michigan's Trey Burke won the award for the 2012-2013 season.