Coach Pearl: Tennessee's where I am & going to be...

Bruce Pearl Statement--

“I have said many times that I am a coach that digs his roots deep within a community. That is especially the case here at the University of Tennessee.

In the last three years we have averaged more than 25 wins while winning SEC championships and making back-to-back Sweet 16 appearances. The fan support has been amazing with 20,000 fans at Thompson-Boling Arena creating the best homecourt advantage in the nation.

While there have been rumors about me being considered for coaching jobs at other schools, I want the Tennessee fans to know that the only school I am interested in talking about is the University of Tennessee.

We have started something special here and I look forward to being a part of it for a very long time. It is great to be a Volunteer.”

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The 2008 John R. Wooden Award All-America team was announced today by Wooden Award Chairman Richard "Duke" Llewellyn at The Los Angeles Athletic Club. The five finalists for the Wooden Award will be invited to Los Angeles for the Wooden Award Gala, to be held April 11, 2008, at the Los Angeles Downtown Sheraton Hotel.

A panel of more than 1,000 voters, comprised of sports media members and college basketball experts from around the nation, had until yesterday to cast their votes, a long voting period that allowed voters to evaluate players up through games of the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament. Voters selected 10 players from the 24 athletes listed on the ballot, and ranked them from 1 to 10. Voters were asked to take into account performance during the regular season and postseason through games last Sunday, as well as a player's character and academic performance, essential components of an outstanding player in the eyes of Coach John Wooden. All players on the Wooden All-America team were certified by their schools as maintaining a 2.0 GPA at their current school.

Returning Wooden All-Americans and Final Four participants Tyler Hansbrough of North Carolina and Brandon Rush of Kansas head the list. Joining them on the All-American team are three more players preparing for the 2008 Final Four, UCLA's Kevin Love and Memphis' Chris Douglas-Roberts and Derrick Rose. Rounding out the 10-player All-America team are, in alphabetical order, D.J. Augustin of Texas, Michael Beasley of Kansas State, Stephen Curry of Davidson, Luke Harangody of Notre Dame, and Tennessee's Chris Lofton.

The All-American team features one senior, Lofton, three juniors, three sophomore and three freshmen. The Big 12 tops the list with three Wooden All-Americans, followed by Conference USA with two. The Pac-10, ACC, Southern, Big East and SEC each have one representative.

The five finalists, in alphabetical order, are Augustin, Beasley, Curry, Hansbrough and Love. As Texas' floor leader, Augustin directed the Longhorns to the Elite Eight, averaging 19.2 points and 5.7 assists in 37.3 minutes. Beasley jumped onto the scene as one of the nation's high profile freshmen. A 6-10 forward, he averaged 26.2 points (No. 3 in the nation) and led the country in rebounding at 12.4 boards per game. Sitting just behind Beasley on the national scoring list at No. 4 (25.9 ppg), Curry became a household name the last few weeks, leading Davidson to the Elite Eight as a No. 10 seed. A junior, Hansbrough has dominated inside for North Carolina the last three years, and is the Tarheels' No. 2 all-time scorer. The ACC Player of the Year, he is averaging 21.0 points and 9.5 rebounds a game in NCAA Tournament play. Love, another of the nation's top freshmen, was the Pac-10 Player of the Year in 2008. He is averaging a double-double for UCLA during the NCAA Tourname! nt, in leading the Bruins to the Final Four.

The 2008 Award ceremony, which will include the presentation of the Men's and Women's Wooden Award winners, the Wooden Award All-American Teams, and the Legends of Coaching Award to Pat Summitt of the University of Tennessee, will be hosted by The Los Angeles Athletic Club at the Sheraton Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles on Friday, April 11th. The final vote tally will be released that night as well. The top five male and female finalists will be invited to Los Angeles for the awards ceremony and will receive a contribution from The Los Angeles Athletic Club for their university's general scholarship fund. The Women's Wooden All-America team will be announced tomorrow, Wednesday, April 2nd.

About the John R. Wooden Award:

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 cumulative 2.0 GPA. Previous winners include Larry Bird ('79), Michael Jordan ('84), and Tim Duncan ('97) and last year's recipients, Kevin Durant of Texas and returning player Candace Parker of Tennessee.

Since its inception, the John R. Wooden Award has contributed nearly one million dollars to universities' general scholarship fund in the names of the All-American recipients and has 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-American players, takes place at The Los Angeles Athletic Club on the Friday of the John R. Wooden Award weekend.

Men's 2008 Wooden Award All-America Team--

D.J. Augustin
6-0
So.
G
Texas

Michael Beasley
6-10
Fr.
F
Kansas State

Stephen Curry
6-1
So.
G
Davidson

Chris Douglas-Roberts
6-7
Jr.
G
Memphis

Tyler Hansbrough
6-9
Jr.
F
North Carolina

Luke Harangody
6-8
So.
F
Notre Dame

Chris Lofton
6-2
Sr.
G
Tennessee

Kevin Love
6-10
Fr.
C
UCLA

Derrick Rose
6-3
Fr.
G
Memphis

Brandon Rush
6-6
Jr.
G
Kansas

Top 5 in Alphabetical Order--

D.J. Augustin
6-0
So.
G
Texas

Michael Beasley
6-10
Fr.
F
Kansas State

Stephen Curry
6-1
So.
G
Davidson

Tyler Hansbrough
6-9
Jr.
F
North Carolina

Kevin Love
6-10
Fr.
C
UCLA


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