NEWPORT NEWS, Va.— Two Atlantic 10 men’s basketball players, St. Bonaventure senior Andrew Nicholson and Xavier senior Tu Holloway, were named to the Los Angeles Athletic Club’s Preseason Top 50 list for the prestigious John R. Wooden Award.
The list is comprised of 50 student-athletes who, based on last year’s individual performance and team records, are the early frontrunners for one of college basketball’s most celebrated individual honors. The preseason list was selected by a poll of national college basketball media members.
Nicholson, a 6-9 Mississauga, Ont., native led the Atlantic 10 and ranked 15th nationally in scoring last season at 20.8 points per game. He scored in double figures in all but one contest and racked up 11 double-doubles while leading the Bonnies to their first winning record (16-15) and postseason appearance (CBI) since 2001-02.
Holloway, a 6-0 Hempstead, N.Y., native led Xavier in scoring at 19.7 points per game (second in the Atlantic 10), assists at 5.4 per game (first in the A-10) and free throw percentage (second in A-10 at .870). Holloway, who will enter his senior year ranked 26th on XU’s all-time scoring list with 1,238 career points, recorded two triple-doubles as a junior and just missed by one rebound of recording a third.
These players and others who excel throughout the season will be evaluated and considered for the Midseason list and the official voting ballot released in March. The National Ballot consists of approximately 20 players who have proven to their universities that they are also making progress toward graduation and maintaining at least a cumulative 2.0 GPA. The Wooden Award All-American Team will be announced the week of the “Elite Eight” round during the NCAA Tournament.
Two previous Atlantic 10 players, Massachusetts’ Marcus Camby (1996) and Saint Joseph’s Jameer Nelson (2004) have previously won the Wooden Award. La Salle’s Lionel Simmons also won the award, albeit prior to the Explorers joining the Atlantic 10.
Created in 1976, the John R. Wooden Award 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. Previous winners include such notables as Larry Bird (`79), Michael Jordan (`84), Tim Duncan (`97), Blake Griffin (`09) and Maya Moore of Connecticut (`09). BYU guard Jimmer Fredette earned the award last season.