Georgia’s Anthony Edwards has been named to the midseason top-25 candidates for the John R. Wooden Award as college basketball’s National Player of the Year. The list was released Wednesday by the Los Angeles Athletic Club, which administers the Wooden Awards program.
A group of national college basketball experts selected the top-25 candidates based on their performances during the first half of the 2019-20 season.
Edwards, who was named a preseason All-American by four media entities, is Georgia’s leading scorer at 18.7 points per game. The Atlanta native’s tally ranks No. 3 overall in the SEC and No. 2 among all Division I freshmen nationally. Edwards has scored in double figures in 11 of 14 games. He has seven 20-point tallies, including a career-high 37 points versus No. 3 Michigan State in the Maui Jim Maui Invitational. That effort, which featured a 33-point, second-half outburst, earned Edwards a spot on the invitational’s all-tournament team and led to him earning National and SEC Freshman of the Week honors. Edwards’ scoring output versus the Spartans represented the most by a Bulldog freshman in 45 seasons.
Edwards, who also is a leading candidate for National Freshman of the Year recognition, opened his career with a 24-point performance against Western Carolina. His output was the second-highest ever by a Georgia freshman in their debut, two points of Dominique Wilkins’ school record.
Edwards was featured on preseason Watch Lists for Naismith and NABC National Player of the Year honors, as well as the ledger of top candidates for the Jerry West Shooting Guard of the Year Award.
The players on the top-25 list are considered strong candidates for the 2020 John R. Wooden Award presented by Wendy’s. Players not chosen to the preseason list are still eligible for the Wooden Award late season list, and the National Ballot. The National Ballot consists of 15 top players who have proven to their universities that they meet or exceed the qualifications of the Wooden Award. Nearly 1,000 voters will rank in order 10 of those 15 players when voting opens prior to the NCAA Tournament and will allow voters to take into consideration performance during early round games. The Wooden Award All American Team™ will be announced the week of the “Elite Eight” round of the NCAA Tournament. The winner of the 2020 John R. Wooden Award will be presented by Wendy’s during the ESPN College Basketball Awards on Friday, April 10, 2020.
Created in 1976, the John R. Wooden Award Program hosts the most prestigious honors in college basketball recognizing The Wooden Award Most Outstanding Player for men and women, The Wooden Award All American Teams for men and women and the annual selection of the Wooden Award Legend of Coaching recipient. Honorees have proven to their university that they meet or exceed the qualifications of the John R. Wooden Award as set forth by Coach Wooden and the Wooden Award Steering Committee, including making progress towards graduation and maintaining at least a 2.0 cumulative GPA. Previous winners include Larry Bird (’79), Michael Jordan (’84), Tim Duncan (’97), Kevin Durant (’07) and last year’s recipient, Zion Williamson of Duke.
Since its inception, the John R. Wooden Award has contributed nearly one million dollars to the universities’ general scholarship fund in the names of the Wooden Award All American recipients and has sent more than 1,000 underprivileged children to week-long college basketball camps. Additionally, the John R. Wooden Award partners with the Special Olympics Southern California (SOSC) each year to host the Wooden Award Special Olympics Southern California Basketball Tournament. The day-long tournament brings together Special Olympics athletes and Wooden Award All Americans and coaches in attendance. It is hosted at the Los Angeles Athletic Club during the John R. Wooden Award Weekend.