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TAMPA, NOV. 17, 2015  The preseason accolades continued for senior guard Courtney Williams (Folkston, Ga.) Tuesday, as the John R. Wooden Award announced the Women’s Preseason Top 30 on ESPN’s SportsCenter and on ESPNW. The list is comprised of 30 student-athletes who are the early front-runners for college basketball’s most prestigious honor. The list is chosen by a preseason poll of national women’s college basketball media members.


Williams opened the 2015-16 campaign strong, averaging 30.0 points, and 11.5 rebounds through two games. The 5-8 guard notched her first double-double of the season against Jacksonville, with a career high 18 rebounds and 34 points, just one shy of her career high. 


A group of potentially the 30 best women’s basketball players in the country, Williams was one of 12 seniors and one of 15 guards named to the watch list, chosen by a preseason poll of national women’s college basketball media members.


Seven conferences are represented on the list with the SEC boasting seven selections, followed by the ACC and Big Ten with six apiece. The American Athletic Conference has four selections, the Big 12 and Pac-12 have three apiece and the Atlantic 10 has one pick. Of the players on the Preseason Top 30 list, 23 out of 30 are upperclassmen, including 12 seniors. No freshman made the list. Interestingly, two players named Courtney Williams made the list (South Florida, Texas A&M).


Players not chosen to the preseason list are eligible for both the midseason list and the National Ballot. The National Ballot consists of 15 top players who have proven to their universities that they are also making progress toward graduation and maintaining at least a cumulative 2.0 GPA. The Wooden Award All American Team, consisting of the nation’s top five players, will be announced the week of the Final Four.


The 40th annual presentation of the John R. Wooden Award will take place during the ESPN College Basketball Awards Show presented by Wendy’s. Texas Tech Head Men’s Basketball Coach, Tubby Smith, will be presented with the Legends of Coaching trophy during the show as well. The Wooden Award Weekend, April 7-9, 2016, will honor the male and female Wooden Award winners, the top 5 All Americans, and the Legends of Coaching recipient, Coach Tubby Smith.


Created in 1976, the John R. Wooden Award is the most prestigious individual honor in college basketball. It is bestowed upon the nation’s 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 minimum cumulative 2.0 GPA. Previous winners include such notables as Larry Bird (’79), Michael Jordan (’84), Tim Duncan (’97), Candace Parker (’07 and ’08), Kevin Durant (’07), Maya Moore (’09 and ’11), Trey Burke (’13) and Doug McDermott (’14). Connecticut’s Breanna Stewart won the 2015 John R. Wooden Award.


Since its inception, the John R. Wooden Award has contributed close to a million dollars to universities’ general scholarship fund in the names of the All-American recipients. The Award has also sent more than 1,000 underprivileged children to week-long college basketball camps in the Award’s name. Additionally, the John R. Wooden Award partners with the Special Olympics Southern California (SOSC) each year to host the Wooden Award Special Olympics Southern California Basketball Tournament. The day-long tournament, which brings together Special Olympics athletes and the All Americans, takes place at the Los Angeles Athletic Club the weekend of the John R. Wooden Award presentation.

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