West Virginia’s Derek Culver is one of three college basketball players making their debut on the 2021 Wooden Award™ Midseason Top 25. The Los Angeles Athletic Club announced the Award’s Top 25 Watch List Wednesday.
Chosen by a poll of national college basketball experts based on their performances during the 2020-21 season thus far, the list comprises of 25 student-athletes who are front-runners for the sport’s most prestigious honor.
Despite facing constant double-teaming and some dubious intimidation tactics, Culver is averaging a double-double through 13 games with 13.8 points and 10.3 rebounds per contest. He is tied for fifth nationally with six double-double games this season.
In addition to Culver, Carlik Jones (Louisville), and Jalen Suggs (Gonzaga) made their initial appearances on the list. Three schools have multiple players on the list, led by Gonzaga (Corey Kispert, Suggs, and Drew Timme), and followed by Illinois (Kofi Cockburn and Ayo Dosunmu) and Villanova (Collin Gillespie and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl).
The Big Ten leads all conferences with six selections on the Wooden Award Midseason Top 25, followed by the ACC with five, the Big East with four, the Big 12 and WCC with three selections each, the Pac-12 with two , and Conference USA and the SEC with one selection apiece.
The players on the list are considered strong candidates for the 2021 John R. Wooden Award Men’s Player of the Year presented by Wendy’s. Players not chosen to the preseason or midseason list are still eligible for the Wooden Award™ 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 2021 John R. Wooden Award will be presented by Wendy’s following the NCAA Tournament in April.