Ten players were named John R. Wooden Award finalists for the 2016 National Player of the Year on Monday, and among them are Oklahoma Sooners star Buddy Hield and Kentucky Wildcats point guard Tyler Ulis, per the Associated Press (via ESPN.com).
Other finalists include Michigan State Spartans playmaker Denzel Valentine, North Carolina Tar Heels big man Brice Johnson, Providence Friars point guard Kris Dunn and Kansas Jayhawks forward Perry Ellis.
Virginia Cavaliers guard Malcolm Brogdon, Duke Blue Devils guard Grayson Allen, Iowa State Cyclones forward Georges Niang and Indiana Hoosiers guard Yogi Ferrell round out the list.
|2016 John Wooden Award Finalists|
|Grayson Allen||Duke||21.6 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 41.7 3PT%|
|Malcolm Brogdon||Virginia||18.2 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 39.1 3PT%|
|Kris Dunn||Providence||16.4 PPG, 6.2 APG, 5.3 RPG|
|Perry Ellis||Kansas||16.9 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 53.1 FG%|
|Yogi Ferrell||Indiana||17.3 PPG, 5.6 APG, 42.0 3PT%|
|Buddy Hield||Oklahoma||25.4 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 46.5 3PT%|
|Brice Johnson||North Carolina||17.1 PPG, 10.5 RPG, 61.6 FG%|
|Georges Niang||Iowa State||20.5 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 54.6 FG%|
|Tyler Ulis||Kentucky||17.3 PPG, 7.0 APG, 1.5 SPG|
|Denzel Valentine||Michigan State||19.2 PPG, 7.8 APG, 7.5 RPG|
The winner of the award will be named during a ceremony April 8.
The AP noted the Wooden Award finalists meet the criteria of having a GPA of 2.0 or higher and are "making progress toward graduation."
Hield and Johnson are the lone Final Four participants to be named finalists for the award. Johnson is averaging 17.1 points and 10.5 rebounds per game for the Tar Heels, the only No. 1 seed remaining in the NCAA tournament.
CBS Sports' Jon Rothstein has considered Hield the front-runner for the award for a while. The Sooners' star shooter is averaging 25.4 points and 5.7 rebounds per game and led Oklahoma to its first Final Four since 2002.
Many fans might consider Valentine to be Hield's closet competition. The Michigan State star led the Spartans to the Big Ten title and averaged 19.2 points, 7.5 rebounds and 7.8 assists per game. His team's first-round exit in the NCAA tournament at the hands of the 15th-seeded Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders, however, may have hindered his chances.
Beyond those three names, a talented crop of point guards highlights the list. The Friars' Dunn could be the first one taken in this summer's NBA draft—DraftExpress has him going fifth overall—and Ulis may be a first-round talent as well after averaging 17.3 points and seven assists per game for head coach John Calipari's Wildcats. Ferrell also had a stellar season for the Hoosiers in their run to the Sweet 16, averaging 17.3 points and 5.6 assists per contest.
If Hield wins the award, he'd be the first Oklahoma player to do so since Blake Griffin in 2009. And since he's been the nation's darling all year, it would be a shocker if he doesn't.
Follow Danny Webster on Twitter.