Wooden Watch: April 4

Story posted April 4, 2022 in CommRadio, Sports by Thomas English

The Wooden Award has announced its ten-player All-American team as well as the five finalists who will be making the trip to Los Angeles for the presentation of the award.

Amongst the five players who were selected to the All American team but did not become a finalist were Illinois’ Kofi Cockburn, Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren, Purdue’s Jaden Ivey, Arizona’s Bennedict Mathurin and Auburn’s Jabari Smith.

Here’s a look at the finalists for the 2022 John R. Wooden Award Men’s Player of the Year.

Ochai Agbaji

The only finalist still competing for the 2022 National Championship has carried the Kansas Jayhawks to a 32-6 record, a Big 12 Championship and a Final Four appearance.

Agbaji has already received first-team All-American honors from NABC, AP, The Sporting News and USBWA and will become a Consensus All-American First Team selection.

He was named Big 12 Player of the Year and is a finalist for the Naismith Player of the Year after leading the conference in scoring with 18.9 points per game on 47.1% shooting from the field.

A senior, Agbaji will look to cap off his outstanding career with a National Championship victory as Kansas plays Villanova for the right to play in the title game.

Johnny Davis

The sophomore for Wisconsin has made an unexpected leap to stardom and now finds himself being named one of the finalists for the Wooden Award.

Davis led a Wisconsin team that was projected to place 10th in the Big Ten to a share of the Big Ten regular-season title.

Wisconsin was able to capture a No. 3 seed in the March Madness Tournament but was upset by No. 11 seed Iowa State in the second round.

Even while battling an ankle injury at the end of the regular season, Davis persevered and finished with averages of 19.7 points and 8.2 rebounds per game.

Keegan Murray

The Cedar Rapids, Iowa native led the Iowa Hawkeyes to a Big Ten Tournament Championship, an appearance in the March Madness Tournament, and is now a Wooden Award finalist.

Murray was a matchup nightmare for opposing teams all season and averaged 23.5 points per game which ranked fourth in the nation.

He also added 8.7 rebounds, 1.9 blocks per game and shot 39.8% from beyond the three. He joined Kevin Durant as the only Division 1 players to have 800 points, 60 blocks and 60 made 3-pointers in a single season.

Murray has entered his name into the NBA Draft and is considered to be a lottery pick.

Drew Timme

Timme was thought to be a selection in the NBA Draft last season but elected to withdraw his name and return to Gonzaga for another season.

In another season with the Zags, Timme averaged 18.4 points and 6.8 rebounds and led them to another WCC title and the number one overall seed in the March Madness Tournament.

This is the second consecutive year that Timme was given these honors and now people will speculate whether he will return for another season or try his luck in the draft pool.

Oscar Tshiebwe

The leading favorite to win the award, Tshiebwe has been a force all season for the Kentucky Wildcats and became a double-double machine.

He dominated opposing teams and averaged 17.4 points and a nation-leading 15.1 rebounds per game.

Tshiebwe was able to grab double-digit boards in all but just two games this season and totaled 28 double-doubles on the season.

Kentucky was upset by No. 15 St. Peter’s in the first round of the NCAA Tournament but Tshiebwe capped off his season with 30 points and 16 rebounds.

He will now turn to the NBA Draft and be a likely first-round pick in the 2022 NBA Draft this year.

Thomas English is a first-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email him at tfe5082@psu.edu