By University of Kansas Athletics
LOS ANGELES – The Kansas duo of Jalen Wilson and Kevin McCullar were named to the 2023 John R. Wooden Award Preseason Top 50 Watch List Tuesday. KU is one of nine schools with multiple players on the 50-member list.
The Kansas pair is vying to become the third recipients of the John R. Wooden Award, joining Danny Manning in 1988 and Frank Mason III in 2017.
Both Wilson and McCullar were named to the Naismith Preseason Player of the Year Watch List last week and were Preseason All-Big 12 honorees by the league coaches with Wilson being a unanimous first-team selection and McCullar on the honorable mention list.
Through two games, Wilson leads the Big 12 in scoring at 20.0 points per contest and is fifth in rebounding at 10.0 boards per outing. The Denton, Texas, forward posted his 17th career double-double to open the season with 19 points and 11 rebounds in the win versus Omaha on Nov. 7. A starter on the Jayhawks 2022 NCAA National Championship team, Wilson is KU’s leading returning scorer and rebounder from last season, when he averaged 11.1 points and a team-best 7.4 rebounds per game. Wilson has been listed on many preseason All-America teams in 2022-23 and has been on the Julius Erving Small Forward of the Year Watch List each of the last two seasons. He was an All-Big 12 Third Team selection in 2021-22 and is a two-time Academic All-Big 12 honoree.
McCullar, a transfer from Texas Tech, is averaging 8.0 points and 5.0 rebounds per game and leads Kansas with four steals and three blocked shots through two games in 2022-23. The San Antonio, Texas, guard is one of 20 on the 2022-23 Jerry West Shooting Guard of the Year Watch List and last season was a national semifinalist for the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year. He averaged 10.1 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.4 steals per game in 2021-22 at Texas Tech. A three-time Academic All-Big 12 honoree, McCullar was a two-year starter at Texas Tech and a 2022 All-Big 12 Honorable Mention selection.
The players on the list are considered strong candidates for the 2023 John R. Wooden Award Men’s Player of the Year presented by Wendy’s. Players not chosen to the preseason list are still eligible for the Wooden Award midseason list, 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 2023 John R. Wooden Award will be presented by Wendy’s following the NCAA Tournament in April.