(UNDATED) -- The Los Angeles Athletic Club announced its Preseason Top 50 candidates for the John R. Wooden Award Thursday, and Tennessee sophomore Jarnell Stokes made the elite list.
A panel of national college basketball experts chose the Top 50 based on last year’s individual performance and team records. The 50 student-athletes are considered the early front-runner for the Wooden Award, which is considered one of college basketball’s most prestigious individual honors.
Stokes, a power forward from Memphis, Tenn., also was recently named to the media’s preseason All-SEC first team after an impactful freshman campaign during which he averaged 9.6 points and 7.4 rebounds while shooting .534 from the field. He played in just 17 games – scoring in double figures seven times – after graduating high school in December and enrolling at UT mid-season.
In June, Stokes led Team USA to the gold medal at the 2012 FIBA Americas U18 Championship in Brazil. He started every game for the American squad and averaged 14.0 points and 5.6 rebounds while shooting .689 from the field.
Transfers, freshmen and medical redshirts were not eligible for the Preseason Top 50 list, though they can be included on the midseason list and final official ballot. Stokes is one of six players from the SEC to make the list.
The 37th annual Wooden Award ceremony will include the announcement of the men’s and women’s Wooden Award winners, the Wooden Award All-American Teams and the Legends of Coaching Award. The event takes place the weekend of April 12-13, 2013.