Sesay Among the 15 Finalists for the John R. Wooden Award

March 4, 1998

LOS ANGELES -- Ole Miss senior forward Ansu Sesay has been named one of 15 finalists for the John R. Wooden Award, which is given annually to the "most outstanding basketball player in the United States." The announcement of the 15 finalists was made on Wednesday.

The list of 15 finalists was trimmed from a mid-season list of 30 players which was released in January. The 15 finalists will be placed on a ballot that will go out to 993 voters across the nation. The ballots will be returned on Mar. 23, with the announcement of the 10-player John R. Wooden All-America Team to follow on Mar. 25. The top five vote getters of the Wooden All-America Team will be invited to the Wooden Award Trophy ceremonies on Apr. 3.

"To be one of the 15 finalists for the John Wooden Award is very special in the fact that, in my estimation, he is the greatest coach that ever lived," said Ole Miss head coach Rob Evans. "For Ansu to be included in that kind of company is special. It also says a lot about Ansu because I know the committee spends a lot of time deciding what kind of player it wants to represent the Wooden Award on and off the court. It's a great honor for Ansu."

The 1998 Southeastern Conference's Player of the Year, Sesay was also the only unanimous choice to the All-SEC first team. Sesay is the first Rebel to be honored as the SEC Player of the Year since Johnny Neumann received the award in 1971. On Tuesday, Sesay was named to the Basketball Times All-America second team. He was also selected the United States Basketball Writers' Association (USBWA) District 4 Player of the Year and was named to the All-District 4 squad. Earlier this week, Sesay was named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) District 6 first team.

Sesay leads the Rebels in scoring and rebounding with averages of 19.2 points and 7.5 rebounds, respectively. The SEC's scoring leader, Sesay is also among the league's leaders in rebounding (5th; 7.5), field goal percentage (4th; 47.4) and free throw percentage (8th; 74.0). He has scored in double figures in 50 consecutive games, and has also recorded 10 double-doubles this season. Sesay is No. 9 on the Ole Miss career scoring list with 1,388 points. Last year, Sesay was named to College Hoops Insider All-America fourth team.

The No. 10 ranked Rebels (21-5) return to action on Friday, Mar. 6 when they will meet either Georgia (15-13) or Mississippi State (15-14) in the second round of the SEC Tournament. Game time is 2:15 p.m. (CT). Ole Miss is the SEC Western Division No. 1 seed in the tournament.

The following are the 15 finalists for the John R. Wooden Award (listed alphabetically): Chad Austin, Purdue; Mike Bibby, Arizona; Vince Carter, North Carolina; Michael Doleac, Utah; Pat Garrity, Notre Dame; Richard Hamilton, Connecticut; Matt Harpring, Georgia Tech; J.R. Henderson, UCLA; Antawn Jamison, North Carolina; Raef LaFrentz, Kansas; Trajan Langdon, Duke; Paul Pierce, Kansas; Ansu Sesay, Ole Miss; Miles Simon, Arizona; Bonzi Wells, Ball State.


 

 

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