Lonzo Ball, Frank Mason Headline John Wooden Award All-American Team

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistMarch 28, 2017

LEXINGTON, KY - JANUARY 28:  Frank Mason III #0 of the Kansas Jayhawks shoots the ball against the Kentucky Wildcats during the game against at Rupp Arena on January 28, 2017 in Lexington, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The five finalists for the John R. Wooden Award were announced Monday. The honor is given to the best college basketball player in the country.

ESPN College Basketball provided a look at the top names:

Lonzo BallJosh Hart, Frank Mason III and Caleb Swanigan were also named finalists for the Naismith Trophy, the other major player of the year award. Nigel Williams-Goss is the only one still playing, as Gonzaga reached the Final Four for the first time in program history.

Williams-Goss had an outstanding first season with the Bulldogs after transferring from Washington. He averaged 16.7 points, 5.9 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game and also made a positive impact on the defensive end.

Per Sports Reference, he led the nation with 7.9 win shares.

Mason and Swanigan improved from last season, increasing their points-per-game averages by at least eight.

Swanigan averaged 18.5 points per game and ranked second in the nation with 12.5 rebounds per game. Mason was a leader for Kansas while averaging 20.9 points per game during his senior year.

Ball was the top freshman in the country and led a UCLA squad that averaged 89.8 points per game, which ranked second in the NCAA. DraftExpress listed the point guard as the No. 2 NBA prospect in the class.

Finally, Hart was the top performer for defending national champion Villanova, averaging 18.7 points and 6.4 rebounds per game.

Based on each player's individual and team successes, it should be a competitive race for the award.

The five other players who made up the Wooden All-American team were Dillon Brooks of Oregon, Josh Jackson of Kansas, Justin Jackson of North Carolina, Luke Kennard of Duke and Malik Monk of Kentucky.

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