By: David Kay
For the second straight year, I received the honor and privilege of casting my vote for the 2009-2010 John R. Wooden Award given to college basketball’s most outstanding player.
The process goes as such; you receive a ballot with 26 pre-determined players. You choose the top ten players and vote 1-10, one being for who you think should win the Wooden Award. If you cast a write-in vote, your ballot is immediately nullified. The results are then tabulated and determine not only the Wooden Award winner, but also the AP All-American teams.
I waited until after the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament to finalize my ballot because I think the tourney should play a major role in how valuable a player has been to his team and to the game. I took several factors into account and here is how my vote went:
Players who did not make the first cut (in alphabetical order):
Al-Farouq Aminu, Soph, F, Wake Forest
Aminu had a solid sophomore season for the Demon Deacons but probably did not deserve to be on this list.
Matt Bouldin, Sr, G, Gonzaga
Bouldin finished up a spectacular four-year run with the Zags, but was far from one of the top ten players in the country.
Jimmer Fredette, Jr, G, BYU
Fredette lit up scoreboards all over the west coast shooting 44% from three, but lacks the credentials of other major conference names on this list.
Gordon Hayward, Soph, F, Butler
The baby-faced Hayward has opened a lot of eyes during the Bulldogs’ run to the Final Four, but does not have the complete resume to be seriously considered as a top ten player in the nation.
Robbie Hummel, Jr, F, Purdue
Even prior to his season-ending injury, Hummel did not deserve to be an All-American and you could argue, he is not even the most valuable player on his team.
Dominique Jones, Jr, G, South Florida
Jones really came into his own this season putting the Bulls on his back. But the fact that his team did not make the tourney crosses Jones off the list.
Kalin Lucas, Jr, PG, Michigan State
His numbers do not serve as an appropriate indicator to how valuable he is to the Spartans. Or at least that is what I thought before MSU advanced to the Final Four with Lucas on the bench.
Jerome Randle, Sr, PG, California
The Pac-10 Player of the Year had a solid season in a relatively disappointing season for Cal, but in no way should be mentioned in the same breath as the guys who will make the top ten.
Jarvis Varnado, Sr, F/C, Mississippi State
Varnado broke the NCAA career blocked shot mark this season, but does not deserve to make it past the first cut.
Players who did not make the second cut (in alphabetical order):
Luke Harangody, Sr, F, Notre Dame
He posted solid numbers once again, but the fact he missed several games during the end of the season when his team played some of its best basketball omits him from serious consideration.
Lazar Hayward, Sr, F, Marquette
The leader on one of the most surprising team’s in the nation, Hayward was the consummate team player. He spent most of the season playing center despite standing 6’6” but is not worthy of being a top-ten finalist.
Darington Hobson, Jr, G/F, New Mexico
The Mountain West Player of the Year, Hobson came out of nowhere in his first season in Division One college basketball to be the “Evan Turner of the West,” but falls short in my ballot.
Kyle Singler, Jr, F, Duke
A pre-season first team All-American, Singler would have been cut the first time around had it not been for his solid play in Duke’s journey to the Final Four.
Cole Aldrich, Jr, C, Kansas
Sherron Collins, Sr, PG, Kansas
The fact that Aldrich and Collins were surrounded by solid players Xavier Henry and Marcus Morris hurt their standing in my opinion. Neither player had overly impressive seasons despite leading the Jayhawks to the number one overall seed in the tournament.
Damion James, Sr, F, Texas
Had the ‘Horns not crapped the bed down the stretch of the season, James would have likely been a surefire All-American.
Check back tomorrow for my top ten votes.