John R. Wooden Award Presented by Wendy’s Finalists Feature Five ESPN Events Alumni
ESPN Events, a division of ESPN, featured all five finalists for the 2017 John R. Wooden Award Presented by Wendy’s in a 2016-17 early-season event. The five players – Lonzo Ball (UCLA), Josh Hart (Villanova), Frank Mason III (Kansas), Caleb Swanigan (Purdue), and Nigel Williams-Goss (Gonzaga) – are invited to Los Angeles for the Wooden Award presentation during the ESPN College Basketball Awards presented by Wendy’s on Friday, April 7, 2017.
Ball, who was named the Pac-12’s Freshman of the Year, took home MVP honors of the 2016 Wooden Legacy after averaging 15.7 points and 9.3 assists per game during the three-day event.
The 2017 BIG EAST Player of the Year, Hart scored 19.7 points per game as the 2016 Gildan Charleston Classic MVP in leading Villanova to the event’s championship.
Mason III, the Big 12’s Player of the Year, followed up a 30-point performance against Indiana in the 2016 Armed Forces Classic by hitting the game-winning basket in Kansas’ win against Duke in the 2016 State Farm Champions Classic at Madison Square Garden.
The 2017 Big Ten Player of the Year, Swanigan’s 10 rebounds led Purdue as the Boilermakers earned a 97-64 victory against Arizona State at the 2016 Jimmy V Classic presented by Corona.
Williams-Goss, who earned West Coast Conference Player of the Year honors, was named the 2016 AdvoCare Invitational MVP after leading Gonzaga to the championship in a field that featured five eventual NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship teams.
The Charlotte, N.C., based ESPN Events managed six multiple-team events during the 2016-17 season, consisting of the Gildan Charleston Classic, Tire Pros Invitational, Wooden Legacy, AdvoCare Invitational, NIT Season Tip-Off and Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic. The multi-day, destination events staged from Charleston, S.C., Orlando, Orange County, Calif., Orlando, Brooklyn and Honolulu, respectively, are all bracket-format tournaments.
In addition to the multiple-team tournaments, ESPN Events also manages three neutral site men’s basketball events including the Armed Forces Classic, State Farm Champions Classic and Jimmy V Classic presented by Corona.
The 2017 ESPN Events college basketball schedule will expand with the addition of PK80 – a 16-team, two-bracket event staged in Portland, Ore., November 23-26, 2017.