Williams, Banchero Added to Player of the Year Watch Lists

Paolo Banchero & Mark Williams | Photo: Courtesy Duke Athletics

Duke freshman Paolo Banchero and sophomore Mark Williams have been named to the Preseason Top 50 Watch List for the John R. Wooden Award presented by Wendy’s, while Banchero is also included on the preseason watch list for the Jersey Mike’s Naismith Player of the Year Award.

 

Duke is one of 12 programs nationally with multiple players selected to the Wooden watch list.

 

The ACC’s Preseason Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year, Banchero entered his rookie campaign as a five-star forward out of Seattle, Wash. He was the No. 3 player in ESPN 100’s rankings for the class of 2021 after a four-year career at O’Dea High School. As a junior, he averaged 22.6 points, 11.6 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.6 blocks per game and was named the Washington Boys Basketball Gatorade Player of the Year.

 

Banchero is one of nine freshmen included on the Wooden Award watch list and the only newcomer representing an ACC school. He was also tapped as a preseason candidate for the NABC Player of the Year Award and Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year Award.

 

Williams gears up for his sophomore season coming off a strong finish to his freshman year. He was named to the All-ACC Tournament Second Team after averaging 18.0 points, 10.0 boards and shooting 15-of-21 (.714) over the Blue Devils’ two wins in Greensboro in March. Over the final 14 games of last season, the Virginia Beach, Va., native led the team in rebounds (6.1), field goal percentage (.684) and blocked shots (28) while ranking fifth in scoring (10.8) in that stretch. He is a Preseason All-ACC Second Team pick and was included on the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award watch list.

 

The Wooden Award has been presented to a Duke men’s basketball player six times in its 45-year history – the most by any program nationally. The Blue Devils’ most recent winner was Zion Williamson in 2019. Duke’s eight previous Naismith winners are also the most in the award’s history.

 

Players not chosen to the preseason list are still eligible for the Wooden Award midseason list, 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 2022 John R. Wooden Award will be presented by Wendy’s following the NCAA Tournament in April.

 

Duke’s John R. Wooden Award Winners

Christian Laettner – 1992 – Senior

Elton Brand – 1999 – Sophomore

Shane Battier – 2001 – Senior

Jason Williams – 2002 – Junior

J.J. Redick – 2006 – Senior

Zion Williamson – 2019 – Freshman

 

Duke’s John R. Wooden Award Winners

Johnny Dawkins – 1986 – Senior

Danny Ferry – 1989 – Senior

Christian Laettner – 1992 – Senior

Elton Brand – 1999 — Senior

Shane Battier – 2001 – Senior

Jason Williams – 2002 – Junior

J.J. Redick – 2006 – Senior

Zion Williamson – 2019 – Freshman

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