LUBBOCK, Texas – One of the final lines announcing the John R. Wooden Award® presented by Wendy's® Preseason Top 50 Watch List back in November stated: "Players not chosen to the preseason list are still eligible for the Wooden Award™ midseason list, late season list, and the National Ballot".
After starting his sophomore season with 19.0 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game, Texas Tech's Jarrett Culver has played himself onto the John R. Wooden Award Midseason Top 25 Watch List which was released on Wednesday on ESPNU. Culver and Kansas junior Dedrick Lawson are the only two Big 12 players on the watch list which is chosen by a poll of national college basketball experts based on their performances during the first half of the 2018-19 season. The list comprises of 25 student-athletes who have emerged as front-runners for the sport's most prestigious honor, including Culver who was not on the initial list of 50 prior to the start of the season.
A Lubbock native, Culver recorded his first double-double of the season and third of his career on Tuesday by going for 23 points and a career-high 13 rebounds in a 66-59 win over No. 23 Oklahoma. He has now scored 20 of more points in seven games this season, including a career-high 30 in a win over Abilene Christian and 25 points against No. 1 Duke at Madison Square Garden. Culver is also on the Jerry West Award Watch List, Oscar Robertson Trophy Midseason Watch List and the Lute Olson Award Mid-Season Watch List.
He has scored in double figures in 14 of 15 games, led the Red Raiders in scoring in 13 and is shooting 56.4 percent from the field after going 8-for-13 against OU. Culver was 12-for-13 from the field and hit four 3-pointers in his career-high performance against ACU and went 7-for-7 from the free-throw line against OU. He was named the Big 12 Player of the Week after the performance against ACU and followed it by going to New York and adding six rebounds and four assists to his 25 points against the Blue Devils. Culver, who has made 19 3-pointers this season (39.6 percent), comes into the matchup on Saturday at Texas having scored 700 career points in 52 games as a Red Raider.
Culver currently ranks second in the Big 12 in scoring, field goals made (101), total points (285) and is third in field-goal percentage and free throws made (64).
Keenan Evans was named a finalist for the award last season, while Jarrius Jackson (2006-07), Andre Emmett (2003-04), Cory Carr (1997-98) and Jason Sasser (1995-96) were also recognized as Wooden Award Finalists during their Texas Tech careers.
On the 2019 Wooden Award Midseason Top 25 Watch List, Culver is one of seven players to make their debut on the Wooden Watch after not being named on the Preseason Top 50: Culver, Nickeil Alexander-Walker of Virginia Tech, Ignas Brazdeikis of Michigan, Jordan Caroline of Nevada, Ja Morant of Murray State, Myles Powell of Seton Hall, and Admiral Schofield of Tennessee. Three schools have two players that were chosen: Duke (RJ Barrett and Zion Williamson), Nevada (Caroline and Caleb Martin), and Tennessee (Schofield and Grant Williams).
The Big Ten leads all conferences with seven selections; followed by the ACC with five; the Big East and SEC with three selections each; the Big 12 and Mountain West with two apiece; and the Ohio Valley, Summit League, and WCC with one selection each.
The players on the list are considered strong candidates for the 2019 John R. Wooden Award Men's Player of the Year presented by Wendy's. Players not chosen to the preseason list are still eligible for the Wooden Award™ late season list, and the National Ballot. The National Ballot consists of 15 top players who have proven to their universities that they meet or exceed the qualifications of the Wooden Award. Nearly 1,000 voters will rank in order 10 of those 15 players when voting opens prior to the NCAA Tournament and will allow voters to take into consideration performance during early round games. The Wooden Award All American Team™ will be announced the week of the "Elite Eight" round of the NCAA Tournament. The winner of the 2019 John R. Wooden Award will be presented by Wendy's during the ESPN College Basketball Awards on Friday, April 12, 2019.