Gonzaga’s Drew Timme and Julian Strawther have been named to the Wooden Award Preseason Top 50 Watch List.
Timme and Strawther are two of 50 players on the list, which will be trimmed throughout the course of the college basketball season. The Wooden Award, similar to the Naismith Trophy, recognizes the most outstanding player in college basketball. Timme and Strawther were also named to the Naismith watch list.
Gonzaga will face last year’s Wooden Award winner, Kentucky big man Oscar Tshiebwe, when the Bulldogs and Wildcats meet Sunday at the Arena (4:30 p.m., ESPN). Kentucky’s Cason Wallace and Sahvir Wheeler are also on the list.
GU’s nonconference schedule is loaded with other Wooden Award candidates, including two players from the 12th-ranked Texas team Gonzaga will face on Wednesday in Austin: sophomore guard Tyrese Hunter and senior forward Timmy Allen.
Baylor’s Keyonte George and Adam Flagler were named to the list less than month before a neutral-site matchup with Gonzaga in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and Alabama freshman forward Brandon Miller was also selected. The Zags face the Crimson Tide in Birmingham, Alabama, on Dec. 17.
During next week’s PK85 Invitational in Portland, Gonzaga could earn a second-round matchup with Purdue center Zach Edey, and could potentially face Duke’s trio of Dereck Lively II, Jeremy Roach and Dariq Whitehead in the championship game.
Creighton sophomore Ryan Nembhard, the younger brother of former Gonzaga point guard Andrew Nembhard, was also named to the Wooden list.
Timme, who was named to the Wooden Award National Finalist Ballot last season, is off to a roaring start for Gonzaga, scoring 14 of his 22 points against Michigan State in the second half, helping the Bulldogs overcome a 12-point deficit to win 64-63. He also secured 13 rebounds and blocked two shots in the game. Timme scored 22 points in 28 minutes during GU’s season opener against North Florida.
Like Timme, Strawther also explored an early departure to the NBA before returning to Gonzaga. The junior wing, who started in every game for the Bulldogs last season, scored 16 points against North Florida and 13 in Friday’s Armed Forces Classic against Michigan State.
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