Zach Edey leads Wooden finalists; Brandon Miller off list

ByJeff Borzello ESPN logo
Saturday, March 4, 2023

Reigning Wooden Award winner Oscar Tshiebwe and this season's favorite Zach Edey were among the 15 finalists named to the men's national ballot Saturday morning, as revealed on ESPN's "College GameDay."

Edey, Purdue's 7-foot-4 center, is heading into the postseason as the perceived front-runner for the Wooden Award, given annually to the best college basketball player in the country.

He has been the most dominant player in men's college basketball for most of the season, ranking ninth in the country in scoring (22.1 PPG) and second in rebounds (13.1 RPG) while blocking 2.3 shots per game and shooting 61.6% from the field. Edey helped lead Purdue to its first outright Big Ten regular-season title since 2017.

On Edey's heels is Indiana's Trayce Jackson-Davis, who has had an outstanding second half of the season, including helping the Hoosiers complete a season sweep of the Boilermakers. Jackson-Davis ranks 22nd nationally in scoring (20.3 PPG) and sixth in rebounds (11.1 RPG) while averaging 3.8 assists and 2.8 blocks. He is just behind Edey in scoring and rebounding in Big Ten play and leads the conference in blocks.

AlthoughKentucky's Tshiebwe is unlikely to repeat, he still has been one of the best players in the SEC. Tshiebwe leads the nation in rebounding at 13.1 per game while averaging 16.5 points and shooting nearly 57% from the field.

Tshiebwe is one of just two players who were also named to last season's final Wooden Award ballot, joined by Gonzaga's Drew Timme.

Among the other candidates is Detroit Mercy guard Antoine Davis, who leads the nation in scoring and is just four points from passing Pete Maravich as the all-time scoring leader in Division I men's college basketball. Davis set the Division I career record for 3-pointers made in January and is averaging 28.2 points.

One notable omission is Alabama star Brandon Miller, the nation's best freshman and a possible top-five pick in June's NBA draft. He is averaging 19.6 points and 8.0 rebounds for the No. 2 Crimson Tide and was included on January's Late Season Top 20 list for the award. Police testified last month that Miller transported former teammate Darius Miles' gun to him on the night of the shooting death of 23-year-old Jamea Jonae Harris after Miles asked him to do so via text message. Miles and Michael Lynn Davis are facing capital murder charges in the shooting. Miller cooperated with police, is not considered a suspect in the case and has continued to play for the Crimson Tide.

The men's Wooden Award has been given out every year since 1977. UCLA's Marques Johnson was the first winner of the award.

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