Selected by the Wooden Award National Advisory Board, the list is made up of 25 student-athletes who, based on their performances in November, December, and the beginning of January, are the frontrunners for college basketball’s Wooden Award.
With McLemore and Withey listed, Kansas is one of three schools to have two players among the 25, along with Duke and Missouri.
McLemore, one of three freshmen on the Wooden midseason list, leads Kansas and is second in the Big 12 with a 16.9 scoring average. The 6-foot-5, St. Louis, Mo., redshirt freshman is coming off a career-high 33 points, on 10-of-12 shooting, including 6-for-6 from three-point range, in Kansas’ 97-89 overtime win against Iowa State Jan. 9. Included was the game-tying three with 1.3 seconds remaining.
McLemore’s 33 points against the Cyclones are the most by a Big 12 player this season and were the most by a KU freshman since 1988 Wooden Award winner Danny Manning had 35 points against Oklahoma State in 1985. McLemore leads the Big 12 with an 89.3 free throw percentage and also ranks among the league leaders in three-point field goal percentage (second, 45.9) and three-pointers made per game (sixth, 2.0). Additionally, McLemore has five games with 20 or more points this season.
Withey leads the nation with 5.1 blocked shots per game. The 7-foot, San Diego, Calif., senior is tied for the Big 12 lead with six double-doubles, including three in the last five games for the Jayhawks. Withey ranks third in the conference in field goal percentage at 56.2 percent, fifth in rebounding with an 8.4 average and 12th in scoring at 13.5 points per game.
Earlier this season Withey recorded the second official triple-double in Kansas men’s basketball history with 16 points, 12 rebounds and a school and Big 12-record 12 blocked shots against San Jose State. His 71 blocked shots in 2012-13 are currently more than seven conference teams.
The players on the Wooden midseason list are considered strong candidates for the official ballot. The National Ballot consists of approximately 20 top players who have proven to their universities that they are making progress toward graduation and maintaining at least a cumulative 2.0 GPA.
The Wooden Award All-American Team, consisting of the nation’s top 10 players, will be announced the week of the “Elite Eight” round of the NCAA Tournament. The John R. Wooden Award Player of the Year will be announced on ESPN during the Final Four Weekend in Atlanta. The 2013 Wooden Award Gala presented by Wendy’s will take place April 11-13, 2013, at The Los Angeles Athletic Club. The Gala will honor the Men’s and Women’s Wooden Award winners, All Americans and the Legends of Coaching Award winner, Kansas head coach Bill Self.
Besides Manning winning the honor in 1988, Kansas players who have made the Wooden All-American Team in the 10-year era of current Jayhawk head coach Bill Self include: Wayne Simien (2005), Brandon Rush (2007, 2008), Sherron Collins (2010), Marcus Morris (2011) and Thomas Robinson (2012).
About the John R. Wooden Award
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 or her university that he or she is making progress toward graduation and maintaining a minimum cumulative 2.0 GPA.
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 week-long 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 day-long tournament, which brings together Special Olympic athletes and the All Americans, takes place at The Los Angeles Athletic Club the weekend of the John R. Wooden Award Gala.