POSTED: Monday, October 4, 2010 - 4:42pm
UPDATED: Monday, October 4, 2010 - 8:50pm
UTEP senior guard Randy Culpepper is one of 50 players on the preseason watch list for the John R. Wooden Award. The list is comprised of 50 student-athletes who, based on last year’s individual performance and team records, are the early frontrunners for college basketball’s most prestigious honor.
Culpepper is the reigning Conference USA Player of the Year and the only C-USA player on the watch list. He ranks fourth in UTEP history and 15th in C-USA annals with 1,664 points. He is UTEP's all-time leader with 252 three-point field goals, and rates second in school history with 180 steals.
The Memphis native has led UTEP in scoring 31 times over the last three seasons. He has scored 20+ points 28 times in his career and ranks sixth in school history with five 30-point games.
Last season Culpepper was named an honorable mention All-American by the Associated Press after averaging a team-leading 17.9 points and 1.8 steals. He ranked second in Conference USA in three-pointers per game (2.5), third in scoring, fourth in steals, eighth in field goal percentage (.472), ninth in three-point field goal percentage (.368) and ninth in minutes (33.3 avg.). He had the top two scoring games in C-USA last season (45 points versus East Carolina, 39 at UCF), making a school-record nine three pointers in each contest.
Transfers, freshmen and medical redshirts are not eligible for the preseason list. These players and others who excel throughout the season will be evaluated and considered for December’s Midseason list and the official voting ballot released in March. The National Ballot consists of approximately 20 top players who have proven to their universities that they are also making progress toward graduation and maintaining at least a cumulative 2.0 GPA. The Wooden Award All-American Team will be announced the week of the “Elite Eight” round during the NCAA Tournament.
The 35th annual Wooden Award ceremony, which will include the announcement of the Men's and Women's Wooden Award winners, a special tribute to Coach Wooden and Wooden Award founder Duke Llewellyn, and the presentation of the Wooden Award All American Teams and the Legends of Coaching Award, will take place the weekend of April 8-10, 2011.
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 minimum cumulative 2.0 GPA. Previous winners include such notables as Larry Bird (’79), Michael Jordan (’84), Tim Duncan (’97), Blake Griffin (’09) and Maya Moore of Connecticut (’09). Ohio State’s Evan Turner and Connecticut’s Tina Charles won the Award in 2010.
Since its inception, the John R. Wooden Award has contributed close to a million dollars to universities’ general scholarship fund in the names of the All American recipients. The Award has also 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 Americans, takes place at The Los Angeles Athletic Club on the Friday prior to the John R. Wooden Award Ceremony.