UM’s LeVert, MSU’s Valentine on Wooden watch list

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

For a second consecutive year, Michigan’s Caris LeVert has made the preseason watch list for the John Wooden Award, handed out in the spring to the nation’s top college basketball player.

The Los Angeles Athletic Club, which hands out the award, released its top 50 contenders this week.

Also on the list is Michigan State’s Denzel Valentine, who is off to a fantastic start, including a triple-double in No. 13 MSU’s victory over No. 4 Kansas in Chicago on Tuesday night.

LeVert has scored in double digits both games this year, leading with 18 points in UM’s opening victory over Northern Michigan and scoring 11 in Monday’s win over Elon.

LeVert and Valentine are both seniors.

LeVert is back after missing 10 months following foot surgery.

Also on the watch list from the Big Ten are Indiana’s James Blackmon Jr., Yogi Ferrell and Troy Williams; Purdue’s A.J. Hammons; and Wisconsin’s Nigel Hayes and Bronson Koenig.

The Los Angeles Athletic Club will narrow the list to 25 players in January, 20 in early February and ultimately 15 before the Wooden Award is presented the week after the Final Four.