The John R. Wooden Award presented by Wendy’s has announced its Late Season Top 20 Watch List, which includes Duke freshman Vernon Carey Jr. and sophomore Tre Jones. In addition, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced Jones as one of 10 candidates for the 2020 Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award.
Carey and Jones have led the Blue Devils to an 18-3 start and an 8-2 record in ACC play, with both posting numbers that rank near the top of the conference. Carey currently leads the league in field goal percentage (.597) and is the only player ranked in the top five in the ACC in scoring (third, 17.8), rebounding (fourth, 8.9) and field goal percentage. The most recent ACC Player and Freshman of the Week, Carey has recorded 10 double-doubles on the season, with each having been 15-10 games and eight coming as 20-10 efforts.
Jones, meanwhile, currently leads the ACC in assists (6.8) and is third in the league in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.39). Defensively, Jones’ 2.0 steals per game rank second in the conference. The Apple Valley, Minn., native is one of just two players in a major conference to be averaging at least 15.0 points, 6.0 assists, 2.0 steals and a 2.0 assist-to-turnover ratio. At 15.0 points per game, Jones is 11th in the ACC in scoring, while his .440 field goal percentage ranks 10th.
Duke is one of three schools with two players on the Wooden Award Watch List, alongside Kansas (Udoka Azubuike and Devon Dotson) and Maryland (Anthony Cowan Jr. and Jalen Smith).
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.
Duke’s six previous winners of the John R. Wooden Award are the most in college basketball history, with Zion Williamson (2019) being the most recent Duke winner.
Jones is currently Duke’s career leader in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.0). His 5.8 assists per game through 55 career contests are third all-time at Duke, and his 1.9 steals per game rank fourth in Blue Devils history (minimum 50 games played). He is the only ACC player among the Cousy Award’s 10 candidates.
“Since 2004, the Cousy Award has recognized the top collegiate point guard annually, forming a fellowship of recipients who have gone on to have wonderful success in the game,” said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame. “The 10 players on this list exhibit many of the characteristics that made Bob Cousy a world-class point guard and they should be proud to be recognized for their efforts at this juncture in the season.”
The winner of the 2020 John R. Wooden award and the 2020 Bob Cousy Award will be both named at The College Basketball Awards presented by Wendy’s in Los Angeles on Friday, April 10.