March 6, 2014
University of Minnesota junior guard Rachel Banham has been named to the John R. Wooden Award Women's Final Ballot, as announced by the Los Angeles Athletic Club Thursday. The ballot, which is selected by the Wooden Award National Advisory Board, is made up of 15 student-athletes who are eligible for college basketball's most prestigious honor. Banham is one of three Big Ten players on the list, joining Nebraska's Jordan Hooper and Penn State's Maggie Lucas.
All balloted players have proven to their universities that they are making progress toward graduation and are maintaining at least a cumulative 2.0 GPA
A native of Lakeville, Minn., Banham was named a unanimous All-Big Ten First Team selection after securing the Big Ten scoring title with her 23.3 points per game average in conference only games. She became the first Gopher since Carol Ann Shudlick in 1993 to earn the distinction and only the third all-time, while her average was the highest since Penn State's Kelly Mazzante averaged 25.1 points per game in 2002. In all games played, Banham also leads the Big Ten with a scoring average of 22.4 points per game.
The guard leads the Big Ten with 19 games scoring 20 or more points and five games scoring 30 or more points this season. Along with the Wooden Award Final Ballot, Banham has been named to the Wade Trophy Watch List and the Dawn Staley Award, which is bestowed upon the best guard in the nation.
Banham ranks fourth all-time at Minnesota with 1,892 career points, and needs just 108 points to become the fourth Gopher in program history to score 2,000 points in her career.
The 38th annual Wooden Award Gala presented by Wendy's will honor the Men's and Women's Wooden Award winners the weekend of April 11-13. It will include the presentation of the Wooden Award All-America Teams and will recognize the Legends of Coaching Award recipient Tara VanErveer of Stanford.
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), Maya Moore ('09 and '11) and Brittney Griner ('12 and '13).
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 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 Olympics athletes and the All Americans, take place at The Los Angeles Athletic Club the weekend of the John R. Wooden Award Ceremony.
Follow the candidates and get the latest news throughout the season by logging on to www.WoodenAward.com. For More information on the John R. Wooden Award, please contact the Wooden Award staff at 213-630-5231 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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