Wooden Legacy has healthy sampling of top players

By Tim Simmons

November 7, 2013 — With the “official” opening of the 2013-2014 college basketball season this weekend, three of the schools that will be competing in Thanksgiving Weekend’s DIRECTV Wooden Legacy at arenas near Disneyland will be under the microscop nationally with players from tournament participants Arizona State and Creighton being considered among the country’s best. Marquette, which is ranked 17th in both the Associated Press and USA Today polls, joins Creighton (27th AP, 28 USA Today) and Arizona State (34th AP, 42nd USA Today) as the top-ranked schools entering play this weekend as all three teams will be playing in the DIRECTV Wooden Legacy November 28 and 29, and December 1 in Orange County.

Other schools competing in the DIRECTV Wooden Legacy are Cal State Fullerton, College of Charleston, George Washington, Miami and San Diego State. The 12-game tournament tips off November 28 and 29 with the first two rounds of play at Titan Gym on the campus of Cal State Fullerton. The “final four” games will be played December 1 at Honda Center in Anaheim where the two undefeated schools in the bracketed event playing for the championship.

Doug McDermott of Creighton and Jahii Carson of Arizona State will be the featured players in the DIRECTV Wooden Legacy. Both players were named earlier this week to the 2013-2014 Oscar Robertson Trophy Preseason Watch List by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association. The group’s board of directors chose the players to be included on the list as contenders for the Oscar Robertson Trophy.

McDermott, who averaged 23.2 points and 7.7 rebounds last season, has previously been selected as the preseason Big East player of the year. McDermott has earned preseason first team All-America honors from the Associated Press, CBSSports.com, NBCSports.com, Sporting News and others. Carson averaged 18.5 points and 5.1 assists last season, the first freshman to do that since Chris McGuthrie of Mount St. Mary’s notched the feat in 1992-1993 (19.8/.5.1).

A first-team USBWA All-American a year ago, McDermott headlines the list as Carson merited consideration after being the nation’s top scoring freshman last season. Other players on the list are Aaron Craft, Ohio State; C.J. Fair, Syracuse; Aaron Gordon, Arizona, Gary Harris, Michigan State; Joe Harris, Virginia; Mitch McGary, Michigan; Shabazz Napier, Connecticut; Jabari Parker, Duke; Adreian Payne, Michigan State; Julius Randle, Kentucky; Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State; Russ Smith, Louisville; and Andrew Wiggins, Kansas.

Carson and McDermott’s teams will meet on the Titan Gym hardwood during the opening day of play in the DIRECTV Wooden Legacy November 28 as the ASU-Creighton meeting will be the last of four contests on Thanksgiving Day. Before the 8 p.m. (PT) ASU-Creighton contest, the DIRECTV Wooden Legacy opens with Miami playing George Washington (11 a.m.), Marquette meeting Cal State Fullerton (1:30 p.m.) and College of Charleston challenging San Diego State (5:30 p.m.)

Creighton defeated Arizona State 87-73 in the finals of 2012 Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic as Carson became just the fourth Arizona State freshman to score 30 points in a game. McDermott had 29 points and was named the tournament’s most valuable player. Arizona State leads the series with Creighton 4-3 as the Las Vegas meeting was the first between the two schools since January 1974 when Sun Devils defeated Bluejays 77-64 at Sun Devil Gym in Tempe.

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