Toppin, Azubuike among Wooden Award finalists

The five finalists for the John R. Wooden Award in men’s college basketball were announced Wednesday for the 2019-20 season.

In alphabetical order, the final five are Kansas’ Udoka Azubuike, Iowa’s Luka Garza, Marquette’s Markus Howard, Seton Hall’s Myles Powell and Dayton’s Obi Toppin.

The Wooden Award is given annually to the most outstanding player in the nation.

Azubuike, Howard and Powell are seniors, while Garza is a junior and Toppin a sophomore. Toppin last week announced that he would sign with an agent and enter the 2020 NBA draft.

The Big East, with Marquette and Seton Hall, is the only conference with more than one player on the final list. The Big 12, Big Ten and Atlantic 10 are also represented.

Toppin, who won this year’s Player of the Year award from The Associated Press, averaged 20 points per game and 7.5 rebounds per game and led Dayton to the No. 3 ranking in the final AP Top 25 poll.

Howard led the nation in points per game with 27.8, and Garza was fifth at 23.9. Azubuike led Kansas to the No. 1 ranking in the final AP Top 25 poll and was tops in Division I in field goal percentage at .748. Powell averaged 21 points per game for No. 15 Seton Hall.

In addition to the finalists list, the list of the top 10 All-Americans was revealed and includes, in alphabetical order: Azubuike, Devon Dotson (Kansas), Malachi Flynn (San Diego State), Garza, Howard, Filip Petrusev (Gonzaga), Powell, Payton Pritchard (Oregon), Toppin and Cassius Winston (Michigan State).

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