Hill Named to Wooden Award Midseason Top-30 List

Jordan Hill has decided to make himself eligible for the 2009 NBA Draft. He is a projected lottery pick.

Jordan Hill has decided to make himself eligible for the 2009 NBA Draft. He is a projected lottery pick.

Lance Madden

EUGENE, Ore. – Don’t blink. You just might miss Jordan Hill improving.

The UA junior, who has played organized basketball for less than five years, continues to get better seemingly each day.

Hill was named one of the 30 candidates for the 2008-09 John R. Wooden Award, it was announced Friday by the Los Angeles Athletic Club’s Wooden Award Committee.

The award has been given to college basketball’s player of the year annually since 1969. The midseason list is based on individual player performance and team records during the first half of the season.

Hill, a 6-foot-10 forward, is one of five Pacific 10 Conference players on the list.

Arizona’s leading scorer and rebounder averages 18 points, 11.7 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game in 22 appearances this season. He also leads the Wildcats with a .550 (160-of-291) field goal percentage, and has scored in double figures 21 times.

On top of that, he ranks No. 1 in the Pac-10 with 14 double-doubles on the season.

“”His skill level has gone from here to here all season long,”” UA interim head coach Russ Pennell said Friday afternoon, raising his hand from his chest to above his head. “”The thing I like about Jordan is he’s just so open to being coached. I’ve watched him in the post-man drills that (associate head coach) Mike (Dunlap) does with him, and he’s a sponge. Very, very high IQ, basketball-wise. That dude gets it.””

The Wooden Award committee will distribute the national ballot to more than 1,000 voters in early March. The 10-player Wooden Award All-American Team will be announced the week of the Elite Eight round of the NCAA Tournament.

The 2009 ceremony, which will include the presentation of the Men’s and Women’s John R. Wooden Award, the Wooden Award All-America teams, and the Legends of Coaching Award to recipient Rick Barnes of the University of Texas, will be held at The Los Angeles Athletic Club in April.

The top five male and female finalists will be invited to Los Angeles for the Award’s ceremony and will receive a contribution from The Los Angeles Athletic Club for their university’s general scholarship fund.

2009 Wooden Award Midseason Top 30 Candidates

A.J. Abrams, 5-11, G, Sr., Texas
Jeff Adrien, 6-7, F, Sr., Connecticut
DeJuan Blair, 6-7, F, So., Pittsburgh
Jon Brockman, 6-7, F, Sr., Washington
Nick Calathes, 6-6, G/F, So., Florida
Sherron Collins, 5-11, G, Jr., Kansas
Darren Collison, 6-0, G, Sr., UCLA
Stephen Curry#, 6-3, G, Jr., Davidson
Jonny Flynn, 6-0, G, So., Syracuse
Taj Gibson, 6-9, F, Jr., USC
Blake Griffin, 6-10, F, So., Oklahoma
Tyler Hansbrough#!, 6-9, F, Sr., North Carolina
Luke Harangody#, 6-8, F, Jr., Notre Dame
James Harden, 6-4, G, So., Arizona State
Manny Harris, 6-5, G, So., Michigan
Gerald Henderson, 6-4, G/F, Jr., Duke
Jordan Hill, 6-10, F, Jr., Arizona
Matt Howard, 6-7, F, So., Butler
Ty Lawson, 5-11, G, Jr., North Carolina
Kalin Lucas, 6-0, F, So., Michigan State
Wesley Matthews, 6-5, G, Sr., Marquette
Jerel McNeal, 6-3, G, Sr., Marquette
Jodie Meeks, 6-4, G, Jr., Kentucky
Greg Monroe, 6-11, C, Fr., Georgetown
Kyle Singler, 6-8, F, So., Duke
Tyler Smith, 6-7, F, Jr., Tennessee
Jeff Teague, 6-2, G, So., Wake Forest
Hasheem Thabeet, 7-3, C, Jr., Connecticut
Terrence Williams, 6-6, F, Sr., Louisville
Sam Young, 6-6, F, Jr., Pittsburgh

! – 2008 Wooden Award Winner
# – 2008 Wooden All American Team