John R. Wooden Award

Some things just go together: peanut butter and jelly, salt and pepper, and John Wooden and college basketball. The "Wizard of Westwood" was a three-time consensus All-American at Purdue before going on to a legendary coaching career at UCLA, where he compiled a sterling 620-147 record and led the Bruins to an unprecedented 10 national championships. His teams rattled off winning streaks of 47 and 88 games and dominated the NCAA landscape for the better part of two decades. It's only fitting then, that college basketball's top individual award is named in Wooden's honor.

On this page you'll learn everything you ever wanted to know (but may have been afraid to ask) about the John R. Wooden Award

When is the Wooden Award announced?

The winners of the John R. Wooden Award are revealed in April at the annual College Basketball Awards. This year's ceremony will be held on Friday, April 10 at 8:00 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on ESPN2.

Where is the Wooden Award ceremony?

A separate ceremony is held annually at the Los Angeles Athletic Club, a privately-owned sport and social club located on West Seventh Street in downtown L.A. The club was founded in 1880 and today features high-end training and spa facilities, as well as posh restaurants, bars, and conference rooms.

Who votes on the Wooden Award?

The winner of the Wooden Award is determined by a hand-picked panel of voters from each of the 50 U.S. states. The voters cast their ballots online immediately following the third round of the NCAA Tournament.

Wooden Award Winners

YearPlayerCollege
2018-19
Zion Williamson
Duke
2017-18
Jalen Brunson
Villanova
2016-17
Frank Mason III
Kansas
2015-16
Buddy Hield
Oklahoma
2014-15
Frank Kaminsky
Wisconsin
2013-14
Doug McDermott
Creighton
2012-13
Trey Burke
Michigan
2011-12
Anthony Davis
Kentucky
2010-11
Jimmer Fredette
BYU
2009-10
Evan Turner
Ohio State

What criteria does a player need to fulfill to win the Wooden Award?

Wooden was a big believer in the "total" basketball player. As such, candidates must excel on offense and defense and contribute in a meaningful way to to their team's success. They must also be well-rounded individuals who exhibit strength of character and take pride in their performance on the hardwood and in the classroom.

Is the Wooden Award based only on regular season play?

No. Wooden Award voters are encouraged to consider a player's performance over the course of the entire season and are expected to factor in pre-conference, conference, and tournament play.

Everyone knows about Wooden's coaching record, but was he actually a good basketball player?

Is the Pope Catholic? The 5-foot-8 Wooden was one of college basketball's first superstars at Purdue University, where he was a three-time All-American and led the Boilermakers to a national title in 1932. Following his graduation, he played in the NBL - a precursor to the NBA - and was named to the league's First Team in 1938 after averaging 11 points per game.

Article Image

A statue of former Purdue Boilermaker player John Wooden is seen outside of Mackey Arena. (Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire)

Is the Wooden Award for men only?

Not any more. The Wooden Award was extended to recognize the best players in NCAA Division I women's basketball in 2004. The inaugural recipient was Duke guard Alana Beard, who averaged 19.7 points per game and led the Blue Devils on a deep run in the NCAA Tournament.

Has a player ever won the Wooden Award multiple times?

Yes. Long-limbed Virginia center Ralph Sampson became the first - and only - player to win the Wooden Award in back-to-back seasons when he took home the hardware in 1982 and 1983. The towering All-American went on to enjoy a nine-year career in the NBA and was later enshrined in the Naismith Hall of Fame in 2012.

College with multiple Wooden Award Winners

CollegeWooden Award WinnersRecipients
Duke
6
Christian Laettner, Elton Brand, Shane Battier, Jason Williams, JJ Redick, Zion Williamson
North Carolina
4
Phil Ford, Michael Jordan, Antawn Jamison, Tyler Hanbrough
UCLA
2
Marques Johnson, Ed O'Bannon
Kansas
2
Danny Manning, Frank Mason III
St. John's
2
Chris Mullin, Walter Berry
Virginia
2
Walter Sampson
Texas
2
T.J. Ford, Kevin Durant
BYU
2
Danny Ainge, Jimmer Ferdette
Oklahoma
2
Blake Griffin, Buddy Hield

Has a freshman ever won the Wooden Award?

Yes, but it hasn't happened often. Texas forward Kevin Durant became the first freshman to win the award in 2007 after averaging 25.8 points and 11.1 rebounds per game for the 25-10 Longhorns. Kentucky center Anthony Davis (2012) and Duke forward Zion Williamson (2019) are the only other first year players to win the Wooden Award.

Wooden Award winners by class

ClassWooden Awards
Freshman
3
Sophomore
6
Junior
8
Senior
26

Why are there five figures on the Wooden Award trophy?

The five figures on the John R. Wooden Award trophy represent the five essential skills Wooden believed players must master: rebounding, passing, shooting, dribbling, and defense.