DURHAM, N.C. – Duke Blue Devils Rodney Hood, Jabari Parker and Rasheed Sulaimon were chosen to the Wooden Award Preseason Top 50 list, the Los Angeles Athletic Club announced Tuesday.
Duke was one of four teams with at least three players, joining Kentucky, which had four, and Kansas and Michigan State, which had three apiece.
Hood, Parker and Sulaimon each reached the 20-point plateau in Duke’s 111-77 season-opening win over Davidson this past Friday. Hood, a redshirt sophomore forward, tied Parker, a freshman forward, with a team-high 22 points, while Sulaimon poured in 20. Hood and Parker both earned Preseason All-ACC honors, as voted on by the league’s media, while Sulaimon is coming off of an All-ACC Freshman Team season in which he averaged 11.6 points while starting 33 of 36 games.
Duke has had a Wooden Award recipient five times in school history: Christian Laettner in 1992, Elton Brand in 1999, Shane Battier in 2001, Jason Williams in 2002 and J.J. Redick in 2006.
The 38th annual Wooden Award ceremony will honor the Men's and Women's Wooden Award winners, and will include the presentation of the Wooden Award All American Teams and the Legends of Coaching Award, which in 2013 will go to Stanford Head Women’s Basketball Coach Tara VanDerveer. The event will take place the weekend of April 11-12, 2014.
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 (’09) and Maya Moore of Connecticut (’09 and ‘11). Michigan’s Trey Burke won the 2013 Wooden Award presented by Wendy’s.
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 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 Olympic athletes and the All Americans, takes place at The Los Angeles Athletic Club the weekend of the John R. Wooden Award Ceremony.