College Basketball Awards Presented by Wendy’s
ESPN is proud to partner with the Los Angeles Athletic Club, the John R. Wooden Award and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame to highlight the best in college basketball during The College Basketball Awards presented by Wendy’s on Friday, April 12, 2019 at The Novo by Microsoft located at L.A. Live in Los Angeles. During the live show televised on ESPN2, the Men’s and Women’s John R. Wooden Awards, Legend in Coaching Award and top position award winners will be announced.
Ticket Information: Private event, closed to the public.
College Basketball Awards Fan Jam
Prior to eight of college basketball’s most prestigious awards being handed out during The College Basketball Awards presented by Wendy’s, the Fan Jam will once again return to L.A.LIVE in downtown Los Angeles for a afternoon jam packed with entertainment and fan participation opportunities. Fans will have their chance to meet and get autographs from the John R. Wooden Award Men’s and Women’s finalists, as well as the position award winners. Trophies will be on display and Wendy’s Frosty’s will be a plenty.
Ticket Information: This event is free and open to the public from 12:00-7:00 p.m.
Schedule of Events: Updated schedule will be posted on March 15, 2019.
About the Awards
John R. Wooden Award
The Wooden Award was founded in 1976 and embodies the spirt and ideals that Coach Wooden sought in his own players. The John R. Wooden Award is presented to the most outstanding male and female college basketball players of the year. For more information visit www.woodenaward.com.
- The Wooden Award, presented annually to the outstanding collegiate basketball Player of the Year, was founded in 1976.
- The Award’s blue ribbon National Advisory Board selects the ballot of approximately 15 candidates for the Player of the Year and All American Team honors. These candidates must be full time students with a cumulative grade point average of 2.00 or higher throughout their college career coupled with outstanding contributions to team play and citizenship are mandatory for selection. The candidates are announced prior to the NCAA Tournament and are listed on the ballot, which is sent to the Wooden Award voters.
- Nearly 1,000 voters select the Player of the Year and All-American Team members each year. Voters are college basketball experts who collectively represent each of the 50 states.
- The 10 man All American Team is announced shortly after the “Final Four” is determined. The five players who receive the most votes are invited to The Los Angeles Athletic Club after the NCAA championship game for the All American Team presentation and The College Basketball Awards presented by Wendy’s.
- The Player of the Year is awarded the five-figured bronze trophy and a scholarship grant in his name is sent to his university.
Legends in Coaching Award
The Award recognizes the lifetime achievement of coaches who exemplify Coach Wooden’s high standards of coaching success and personal achievement. When selecting the individual, the Wooden Award Committee considers a coach’s character, success rate on the court, graduating rate of student athletes, his coaching philosophy and his identification with the goals of the John R. Wooden Award. In 2017, the award was given to Jay Wright of Villanova University. For more information visit www.woodenaward.com.
Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Position Awards
College basketball’s finest in each position are recognized annually during The College Basketball Awards presented by Wendy’s. Each position award is awarded under the namesake of one of the position’s legends. For more information on the Naismith Basketball Memorial Hall of Fame visit www.hoophall.com.
The Bob Cousy Award (Point Guard of the Year) – Jalen Brunson, Villanova University (2018)
The Karl Malone Award (Power Forward of the Year) – Deandre Ayton, University of Arizona (2018)
The Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award (Center of the Year) – Angel Delgado, Seton Hall University (2018)
The Julius Erving Award (Small Forward of the Year) – Mikal Bridges, Villanova University (2018)
The Jerry West Award (Shooting Guard of the Year) – Carsen Edwards, Purdue University (2018)
Special thanks to our sponsors for their continued support of this annual event.
2018 Event History
2018 John R. Wooden Award Winners – Jalen Brunson and A’ja Wilson
Junior guard Jalen Brunson’s efficiency and basketball smarts have defined his three seasons in a Wildcats uniform.
In 2017-18, Brunson stepped forward as one of the Wildcats leaders, averaging 19.1 points and 4.7 assists per game for a 32-4 unit that earned the BIG EAST Tournament title and advanced the NCAA Tournament for the second time in his three seasons. His +2.7 assist-to-turnover ratio ranked second in the BIG EAST (168 assists, 62 turnovers) and he was the conference’s choice as its Player of the Year.
The product of Lincolnshire, Ill., is the son of former Temple standout and nine year NBA veteran and current Minnesota Timberwolves assistant coach Rick Brunson and his wife Sandra.
In addition to being a standout on the court, Brunson excels in the classroom. The Communication major is a Second Team CoSIDA Academic All-American and received the BIG EAST Scholar Athlete of the Year award. He is on schedule to complete his degree requirements in the summer of 2018.
The first three-time SEC Player of the Year in the prestigious history of the league, South Carolina senior A’ja Wilson capped her decorated college career with her best statistical season. Even as opponents were locked onto stopping her with multiple defenders and every scheme imaginable, the agile 6-foot-5 forward dominated games, ranking in the top 10 in the nation in double-doubles as well as scoring, rebounding and blocked shot averages. She scored in double figures in all but one game this season, including 19 20-point outings, to lead the SEC in scoring with 22.6 points per game. A multi-dimensional weapon, Wilson was the SEC co-Defensive Player of the Year for the second time in her career as she ranked among the nation’s best defensive rebounders with an SEC-best 8.5 per game to go along with her 3.3 blocks per game. Despite losing three top-10 WNBA Draft picks from last season’s national championship team, the Gamecocks followed Wilson to a league-record fourth-straight SEC Tournament championship and their fifth-straight NCAA Sweet 16.
2019 Legends of Coaching Winner – Lon Kruger
Lon Kruger, University of Oklahoma Men’s Basketball Coach, will receive the John R. Wooden Award®’s “Legends of Coaching™” honor in 2019. The “Legends of Coaching” honor recognizes coaches who exemplify Coach Wooden’s high standard of coaching success and personal integrity.
The “Legends of Coaching” award was adopted by the Wooden Award Steering Committee in 1999. The honorees are selected based on character, success on the court, graduation rate of student-athletes in their basketball program, coaching philosophy, and identification with the goals of the John R. Wooden Award.
Coach Kruger has 32 years of head coaching experience, including seven years as the head coach of the University of Oklahoma. He is the first Division I coach to take five different schools to the NCAA Tournament and the first to take four different programs to Sweet 16 or beyond. Kruger is the 33rd head coach to win 600 Division I games and currently ranks tenth among active coaches. His collegiate teams have made postseason appearances in 22 of the last 29 years, including 17 NCAA Tournaments, five Sweet 16s, and two Final Fours. Coach Kruger has coached two Wooden Award All Americans: Buddy Hield, who won the Wooden Award in 2016; and Trae Young in 2018.
While at Florida, Coach Kruger and his wife, Barbara, were honored with consecutive Community Service Awards from the Gainesville Community Council on Alcohol & Drug Abuse, and in 1995 he was named the Gainesville (Fla.) Volunteer of the Year. From 1991-93, the couple served as co-chairpersons of Alachua County’s Red Ribbon Campaign, a week-long program aimed at increasing awareness and promoting a drug-free environment for the community. Kruger was instrumental in starting the Coaches vs. Cancer’s Las Vegas Classic, which has raised nearly $500,000 to benefit research, education and treatment programs for the Nevada Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society. In 2018, he was named the council chair of Coaches vs. Cancer.
2018 Legends of Coaching Winner – Jay Wright
Jay Wright, Villanova University Men’s Basketball Coach, will receive the John R. Wooden Award’s “Legends of Coaching” honor in 2018. Coach Wooden’s daughter Nan Wooden was proud to announce his selection at the Los Angeles Athletic Club’s annual Wooden Award Tip-Off Luncheon. The luncheon features the head coaches from the Division I men’s basketball programs in Southern California. The “Legends of Coaching” honor recognizes coaches who exemplify Coach Wooden’s high standard of coaching success and personal integrity.
The “Legends of Coaching” award was adopted by the Wooden Award Steering Committee in 1999. The honorees are selected based on character, success on the court, graduation rate of student-athletes in their basketball program, coaching philosophy, and identification with the goals of the John R. Wooden Award. Coach Wright will be recognized during the Wooden Award Weekend April 5-7, 2018, as a part of the Los Angeles Athletic Club’s celebration of the greatest players and coaches in college basketball. He will be awarded the honor during the 4th Annual ESPN College Basketball Awards on April 6, 2018.
Coach Wright has 23 years of head coaching experience, including 16 years as the head coach of the Villanova University men’s basketball team. On February 11, 2017, he recorded his 500th career victory when the Wildcats defeated Xavier. He is a five-time winner of the Big East Conference Coach of the Year honor. Wright has led Villanova to the NCAA Tournament in 12 of the last 13 seasons. Over the past four seasons, Wright has led Villanova to four consecutive Big East regular season championships, a pair of Big East Tournament titles, the 2016 NCAA Championship, 70 consecutive weeks ranked in the AP Top 25, and the most wins of any program in the country.
In 2016-17, Villanova had 11 players named to the Big East All-Academic Team and received the Team Academic Excellence award. Every player that spent four seasons with the Villanova men’s basketball program during Wright’s tenure has received a diploma. Three players have earned consensus first-team All-American honors in Wright’s tenure at Villanova and four players have been named to the Wooden Award All American Team, most recently with 2018 winner Jalen Brunson.