UK’s Grady and Washington on Wooden Award watch list

Preseason recognition grows for men's basketball duo

LOS ANGELES (UK Athletics) – Kentucky men’s basketball players Kellan Grady and TyTy Washington Jr. were tabbed to the John R. Wooden Award Watch List, awarded annually by the Los Angeles Athletic Club to the nation’s most outstanding player.

Kentucky is one of 12 programs with two players among the top 50 preseason favorites for the Wooden Award’s Player of the Year.

The preseason top 50 list represents 12 conferences, 35 upperclassmen, 17 seniors and nine freshmen. The players on the list are considered strong candidates for the 2022 John R. Wooden Award Men’s Player of the Year. 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 are also making progress toward graduation and maintaining at least a cumulative 2.0 grade-point average.

Nearly 1,000 voters will rank in order 10 of those 15 players, who have qualified as meeting the standards set forth by Coach Wooden and the Wooden Award Steering Committee. Voting will open prior to the start of 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 of the NCAA Tournament. The winner of the 2022 John R. Wooden Award will be presented following the NCAA Tournament in April.

Kentucky’s Anthony Davis is the only winner in program history. He claimed the honor in 2012 after helping lead Kentucky to its eighth national championship in program history.

A graduate transfer from Davidson College, Grady is utilizing the COVID-19 extra season of eligibility. He scored 2,002 points at Davidson and averaged at least 17.1 points in all four seasons. Grady enters the 2021-22 year with the second-most points in college basketball, behind only Antoine Davis from Detroit Mercy.

Grady averaged 10.0 points in the preseason with four 3-pointers in UK’s two exhibition victories.

Other notable preseason recognitions for Grady include:

  • Naismith Trophy Preseason Watch List
  • Lute Olson Award Preseason Watch List
  • Jerry West Award Preseason Watch List
  • Preseason All-Southeastern Conference Second Team (media/coaches)

Washington led UK in scoring in the exhibition season with 16.5 points per game on 59.1% shooting. The freshman from Phoenix made all six of his 3-point shots and dished out eight assists over the two games. He is regarded as one of the top freshmen in the country. A five-star prospect, Washington was ranked as high as No. 14 overall by Rivals and ESPN in the final 2021 recruiting rankings. ESPN tabbed him the No. 2 overall point guard.

At AZ Compass Prep last season, Washington averaged 24.0 points, 7.0 assists and 6.0 rebounds per game, which finished 30-2 in his senior season. Washington was named the MaxPreps Arizona Player of the Year and was selected to the 2021 Iverson Roundball Classic.

Additional notable preseason honors for Washington include:

  • Naismith Trophy Preseason Watch List
  • Lute Olson Award Preseason Watch List
  • 247Sports Preseason Freshman All-America Team

Kentucky opens the regular season Tuesday night in Madison Square Garden in New York vs. No. 9/9 Duke in the annual Champions Classic. It will be the Wildcats’ eighth top-10 showdown (Associated Press Top 25) in the 11th year of the Champions Classic. UK is 5-5 in the annual series. The game is slated to tip at approximately 9:30 p.m. on ESPN.

Categories: Basketball, Local News, News, Solid Blue, Sports