A Cardinal Guard Makes Men’s Wooden Award Watch List

Louisville sophomore guard, and native son, David Johnson has made the Top 50 watch list for the prestigious Wooden Award.

The award has been given out annually since 1977. Only one other Cardinal has ever won the award. Interestingly, it is another native son and guard that was able to earn the accolade. Darrell Griffith won the award in 1980, the same season he led UofL to its first title.

Johnson is making a strong case early on for, not only his inclusion on the watch list, but his candidacy to actually win the award. He is averaging 12.3 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists in the four games played by UofL in the 2020-2021 campaign. Each game has been successively better than the last. It would be quite a bit of serendipity if Johnson is able to do what Griffith did in 1980 and become the second Louisville native to win the Wooden Award and a national title.

To read more about David Johnson’s inclusion on the Wooden Award watch list, read the press release below:

*stats courtesy of gocards.com


LOS ANGELES, Calif. – University of Louisville sophomore guard David Johnson has been named to the watch list for the John R. Wooden Award presented by Wendy’s.

Chosen by a preseason poll of national college basketball experts, the list is comprised of 50 student-athletes who are the early front-runners for the one of the most prestigious honors in college basketball, the Wooden Award All American Team and Most Outstanding Player Award.

Johnson is one of seven ACC players on the Wooden Award watch list.  He was honored on the 11-person preseason All-ACC team and was the leading vote-getter on the second team.  He was also included among the 50 players on the watch list for the Jersey Mike’s Naismith Men’s Basketball Player of the Year.

A 6-5, 210-pound hometown product from Louisville, Johnson has averaged 10.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 4.0 assists in the Cardinals’ first three games this season.  He matched a career scoring high with 19 points against Prairie View in his last game, adding six assists and two blocked shots in the game.

Over the last 15 games of the 2019-20 season, Johnson averaged 8.9 points, 4.4 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game while making 49.5 percent of his field goals (55-of-111).  He was the ACC assists leader among freshmen in conference games, averaging 3.8 assists, 7.9 points and 3.4 rebounds in ACC games.  Johnson missed nearly four months leading up to his freshman season after recovering from shoulder surgery.  He worked his way into a prominent role on the team for the last half of the year, including a starting role in four of the last five games.

The players on the list are considered strong candidates for the 2021 John R. Wooden Award Men’s Player of the Year presented by Wendy’s. Players not chosen to the preseason list are still eligible for the Wooden Award™ mid-season 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 2021 John R. Wooden Award will be presented by Wendy’s following the NCAA Tournament in April.

About the John R. Wooden Award
Created in 1976, the John R. Wooden Award Program hosts the most prestigious honors in college basketball recognizing The Wooden Award Most Outstanding Player for men and women, The Wooden Award All American Teams for men and women and the annual selection of the Wooden Award Legend of Coaching recipient. Honorees have proven to their university that they meet or exceed 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. Previous winners include Larry Bird (’79), Darrell Griffith (’80), Michael Jordan (’84), Tim Duncan (’97), Kevin Durant (’07), Candace Parker (’07; ’08), Maya Moore (’09; ’11), Chiney Ogwumike (’14), Breanna Stewart (’15 and ’16) and last year’s recipients, Sabrina Ionescu of Oregon and Obi Toppin of Dayton.

Since its inception, the John R. Wooden Award has contributed nearly one million dollars to the universities’ general scholarship fund in the names of the Wooden Award All American recipients and has sent more than 1,000 underprivileged children to week-long college basketball camps. 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 brings together Special Olympics athletes and Wooden Award All Americans and coaches in attendance. It is hosted at the Los Angeles Athletic Club during the John R. Wooden Award Weekend.

For up-to-date information on the Wooden Award, please go to www.woodenaward.com and follow the Wooden Award on Facebook at www.facebook.com/woodenaward and @WoodenAward on Twitter and Instagram.

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