Jan. 30, 2008
BERKELEY, Calif. - California junior forward/center Ashley Walker has been selected to the John R. Wooden Award and the Naismith Trophy midseason lists. The Wooden Award cut its original pool of 30 candidates down to 20, with Walker being one of six players added to the Midseason Top 20 after not being mentioned on the Preseason Top 30. Additionally, Walker was one of 31 athletes to make the cut from 50 Naismith preseason candidates.
The Wooden Award and Naismith Trophy are among several awards that honor the National Player of the Year. Walker and Cal junior forward/center Devanei Hampton are candidates for the State Farm Wade Trophy, another National Player of the Year award.
Walker ranks among the top five in six statistical categories in the Pac-10. She leads Cal in scoring (16.3 ppg, 3rd Pac-10), rebounding (9.4 rpg, 1st Pac-10), blocks (1.55 bpg, 2nd Pac-10), free throw percentage (79.2%, 5th Pac-10), offensive rebounds (3.90 rpg, 1st Pac-10) and defensive rebounds (5.45 rpg, 3rd Pac-10). The product of Modesto, Calif., is also tied for sixth in the conference in field goal percentage at 50.0 percent.
Additionally, Walker leads the Pac-10 in double-doubles with nine, brining her career total to 29. She is eighth all-time in scoring in Cal history at 1276 points, and her 125 career blocks rank third in program history and establish her as one of only two Bears players with at least 1000 points and 100 blocks.
The Wooden award is named for the three-time college basketball All-American, 1932 Player of the Year and 10-time national championship coach at UCLA. It is bestowed upon the nations best player at an institution of higher education who has proven to his or her university that he or she is making progress toward graduation and maintaining a cumulative 2.0 GPA.
Players who do not make the midseason list are still eligible for consideration for the Wooden Award. In March, the Women's National Advisory Board will release the names of the players selected to the official voting ballot. The ballot consists of approximately 15 players who have proven to their universities that they are making progress toward graduation and are maintaining a cumulative 2.0 GPA. More than 300 voters, comprised of sports media members and women's college basketball experts from across the nation, will cast their votes for the five-member All-America team and Wooden Award honor as the most outstanding female collegiate basketball player in the nation.
The 2008 Award ceremony, which will include the presentation of the Men's and Women's Wooden Award winners, the Wooden Award All-America teams, and the Legends of Coaching Award to Pat Summitt of the University of Tennessee, will be held at The Los Angeles Athletic Club the weekend of April 11-12. The 32nd Annual Wooden Award Gala, with a reception and dinner program, will take place the evening of Friday, April 11 at the Sheraton Downtown Los Angeles. On Saturday, April 12, the Wooden Award Announcement and trophy presentation will be televised, followed by a press conference and sponsor reception.
The top five male and female finalists will be invited to Los Angeles for the awards ceremony and will receive a contribution from The Los Angeles Athletic Club for their university's general scholarship fund.
The Naismith list, which includes 31 candidates because of a tie, was voted on by the Atlanta Tipoff Club's Board of Selectors, comprised of leading basketball journalists, coaches and administrators from around the country. The board based its criteria on player performances this season, and the list was narrowed down from the pre-season list of 50 candidates who were announced at the beginning of the season.
Again this year AT&T will give fans an unprecedented voice in selecting the winner of the Naismith Trophy. Fan voting, through the power and ease of text messaging, will account for 25 percent of the selection process. This program sets the standard in college athletics for integrating fans into the voting process and providing them with more input than with any other major collegiate sports award.
Fans will be eligible to cast their vote for the winner until April 5. AT&T is making the voting open to other wireless carriers allowing even more fans to participate. Other wireless carriers must opt-in for their subscribers to participate. The Women's Naismith Trophy winner will be announced April 7 at the 2008 NCAA Final Four in Tampa.
No. 9/10 Cal (coaches/AP polls) begins the second half of Pac-10 play at home against UCLA Thursday, Jan. 31, at 7 p.m. at Haas Pavilion. The Golden Bears hold a one-game lead for first place in the Pac-10 at 8-1 and are 17-3 overall.