Clarke and Hachimura named to Wooden Award national ballot

Clarke and Hachimura named to Wooden Award national ballot
Brandon Clarke hits the jumper against San Francisco.

Gonzaga’s Brandon Clarke and Rui Hachimura were named to the 2019 Men’s National Ballot for the John R. Wooden Award presented by Wendy’s the Los Angeles Athletic Club announced Saturday.

Selected by the Wooden Award National Advisory Board, the National Ballot consists of 15 student-athletes who are candidates for the Wooden Award All American Team and Wooden Award Trophy as the most outstanding college basketball player in the United States.

On the Wooden Award National Ballot, Brandon Clarke makes his debut for Wooden Award consideration and PJ Washington returns after appearing on the Preseason Top 50. Duke (RJ Barrett and Zion Williamson) and Gonzaga (Clarke and Rui Hachimura) are the only universities with two players on the list. The ACC and Big Ten lead all conferences with three selections on the National Ballot, followed by the Big 12, SEC and WCC with two players each, and the Big East, Ohio Valley and Summit League with one selection apiece.

Clarke was recently named the West Coast Conference Defender and Newcomer of the Tear. Clarke’s 99 blocks are the second-most in the country, while his 3.19 blocks per game ranks third. He’s already broken the GU single-season record, and now ranks sixth in program history for most blocks in a career, with all 99 blocks coming this season. The Phoenix, Ariz., native now ranks second in WCC history for most blocks in a single season, 15 away from the record. He finished second in league history with 52 blocks in conference action. Clarke tops the nation shooting 68.8 percent from the field, which is on pace for the WCC record. He leads the conference, and is ninth in country, making 70.5 percent of his shots inside-the-arc. The redshirt junior is averaging 16.6 points per game, which is eighth in the WCC, and 8.5 rebounds per outing, which is third in the league. He leads the conference averaging 3.1 offensive rebounds per game.

Hachimura was tabbed the WCC Player of the Year. He is third in the West Coast Conference averaging 20.6 points per game. He is sixth in the league shooting 61.3 percent from the field and eighth grabbing 6.6 rebounds per game. The junior also has 23 blocks this season. He made 63.5 percent of his shots from the field in conference play, which ranks fourth in the league. Hachimura has scored in double-digits in each of the Zags’ 31 games this season, reaching 20 or more points 19 times. He has four double-doubles so far this season. The Toyama, Japan, native scored a career-high 33 points against Idaho State.

All balloted players have been certified by their university to meet or exceed the qualifications for the Wooden Award as set forth by Coach Wooden when the Award was established. The qualifications include: candidates must exhibit strength of character, both on and off the court; candidates must be full-time students in an accredited NCAA college or university; candidates must be making progress toward graduation and have a cumulative 2.00 grade point average since enrolling in their school; candidates must contribute to team effort; candidates must excel in both offense and defense; and candidates should be considered on their performance over the course of the entire season.

Voting will take place from March 18 to March 25, and voters, consisting of nearly 1,000 members of the national college basketball media, take into consideration a player’s entire season of play, as well as the opening rounds of the NCAA Tournament. Fans may vote through a fan voting site, sponsored by Wendy’s, at www.woodenawardvote.com.

The Wooden Award All American Team, consisting of the nation’s top ten players, and the five finalists for the Wooden Award, which is widely considered the most prestigious honor in college basketball, will be announced following the “Elite Eight” round of the NCAA Tournament and will be the focus of a 30-minute show on April 3 on ESPNU at 3:30 p.m. PT.

The 43rd annual presentation of the John R. Wooden Award to the men’s and women’s most outstanding college basketball player will be the anchor presentation of the ESPN College Basketball Awards Presented by Wendy’s on ESPN2 on April 12. The men’s and women’s John R. Wooden Award All American Team will be honored during the ceremony, and the 2019 Wooden Award Legends of Coaching Trophy will be presented to Lon Kruger, Head Men’s Basketball Coach at Oklahoma.

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 basketball player at an NCAA Division I university who has proven to his or her university that he or she meets or exceeds the qualifications of the John R. Wooden Award as set forth by Coach Wooden and the Wooden Award Steering Committee, including making progress towards graduation and maintaining at least a 2.0 cumulative GPA. Previous winners include Larry Bird (’79), Michael Jordan (’84), Tim Duncan (’97), Kevin Durant (’07), Candace Parker (’07 & ’08), Maya Moore (’09 & ’11), Chiney Ogwumike (’14), and last year’s recipients, A’ja Wilson of South Carolina and Jalen Brunson of Villanova.