LOS ANGELES — The John R. Wooden Award announced the Women’s Preseason Top 30 Tuesday on ESPN’s SportsCenter and on espnW, and Tennessee Diamond DeShields was among the 30 players making the cut.
The list is comprised of 30 student-athletes who are the early front-runners for college basketball’s most prestigious honor. The players are chosen by a preseason poll of national women’s college basketball media members.
DeShields, a 6-foot-1 redshirt sophomore from Norcross, Ga., played her first game as a Lady Vol on Sunday vs. Central Arkansas. In 25 minutes, the gifted guard registered 12 points, four rebounds, two steals and a career-high seven assists in Tennessee’s 102-47 victory over the Sugar Bears.
A transfer from North Carolina, DeShields was named national freshman of the year by a number of organizations in 2013-14 during her rookie season. She averaged 18.0 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.7 steals per game en route to being named to the All-ACC First Team and All-Freshman Team. She was the only first-year player on that year’s Wooden Top-15 list.
Players not chosen to the preseason list are eligible for both the midseason list and the National Ballot. The National Ballot consists of 15 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, consisting of the nation’s top five players, will be announced the week of the Final Four.
The 40th annual presentation of the John R. Wooden Award will take place during the ESPN College Basketball Awards Show presented by Wendy’s. Texas Tech Head Men’s Basketball Coach, Tubby Smith, will be presented with the Legends of Coaching trophy during the show as well. The Wooden Award Weekend, April 7-9, 2016, will honor the male and female Wooden Award winners, the top 5 All Americans, and the Legends of Coaching recipient, Coach Tubby 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 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), Candace Parker (’07 and ’08), Kevin Durant (’07), Maya Moore (’09 and ’11), Trey Burke (’13) and Doug McDermott (’14). Connecticut’s Breanna Stewart won the 2015 John R. Wooden Award.
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 the 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 Olympics athletes and the All Americans, takes place at the Los Angeles Athletic Club the weekend of the John R. Wooden Award presentation.