University of Memphis sophomores Joe Jackson and Will Barton were named Monday to the preseason Wooden Award watch list. The Wooden Award is given annually to the nation’s best college best college basketball player.
The U of M duo joins 48 other players named to the watch list.
Barton led the Tigers, who were eliminated in the second round of the NCAA tournament by Arizona, in scoring at 12.3 points per game. Jackson was second on the team, scoring 9.3 points per game.
Jackson and Barton are the U of M’s first Wooden Award candidates in coach Josh Pastner’s tenure.
“It’s a nice honor for them,” said Pastner, who’s entering his third season at Memphis. “But we’ve got a long way to go. It’s about playing hard every possession. If we do that, we’ll see how things turn out.”
The list will be trimmed from 50 to 30 in January, at which point freshmen and transfers will be eligible for the award.
The Tigers were one of nine schools to have multiple players named to the preseason watch list.
The other schools to have multiple candidates are listed below.
North Carolina (John Henson, Kendall Marshall, Harrison Barnes, Tyler Zeller)
Ohio State (William Buford, Aaron Craft, Jared Sullinger)
Vanderbilt (Festus Ezeli, John Jenkins, Jeffery Taylor)
California (Jorge Gutierrez, Allen Crabbe)
Connecticut (Alex Oriakhi, Jeremy Lamb)
Syracuse (Scoop Jardine, Kris Joseph)
UCLA (Reeves Nelson, Josh Smith)