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Obi Toppin, Markus Howard, Luka Garza Among 2020 Wooden Award Finalists

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistApril 2, 2020

Dayton's Obi Toppin goes up to dunk during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against George Washington, Saturday, March 7, 2020, in Dayton, Ohio. (AP Photo/Tony Tribble)
Tony Tribble/Associated Press

The finalists for the men's John R. Wooden Award were announced Wednesday: Marquette guard Markus Howard, Seton Hall guard Myles Powell, Kansas center Udoka Azubuike, Iowa center Luka Garza and Dayton forward Obi Toppin.

Howard, Powell and Azubuike are seniors.

The women's John R. Wooden Award finalists were also announced Wednesday, with Oregon's Sabrina Ionescu and Ruthy Hebard leading a loaded group that also includes Baylor forward Lauren Cox, South Carolina guard Tyasha Harris and Kentucky guard Rhyne Howard.

All five players make a strong case. Howard led the nation with 27.8 points per game, shooting an impressive 41.2 percent from three, while Powell averaged 21.0 points per game, his second straight season averaging over 20 points a contest.

The Big East was the only conference with two Wooden finalists.

Azubuike was a force for the top-ranked Jayhawks, averaging 13.7 points, 10.5 rebounds and a whopping 2.6 blocks per game. He also led the nation by making 74.8 percent of his field goals. He wasn't the only big man to leave his mark on college basketball this season, with Garza averaging 23.9 points, 9.8 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game.

Finally, Toppin had a huge season for the No. 3 Flyers, posting 20.0 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.2 blocks and 1.0 steals per game. He was already named the Associated Press' National Player of the Year.

The top 10 All-Americans were also announced Wednesday, with the five Wooden finalists joined by Kansas guard Devon Dotson, San Diego State guard Malachi Flynn, Gonzaga big man Filip Petrusev, Oregon guard Payton Pritchard and Michigan State guard Cassius Winston.

Ionescu is the clear front-runner among the women, meanwhile. The three-time Pac-12 Player of the Year and reigning Wooden Award winner led the nation with 9.1 assists per game, adding 17.5 points and 8.6 rebounds per contest. She is the only collegiate player in history to finish with 2,000 career points, 1,000 career rebounds and 1,000 career assists.

In the history of the women's game, only LSU's Seimone Augustus, Baylor's Brittney Griner, Tennessee's Candace Parker and UConn's Breanna Stewart have won back-to-back Wooden awards. 

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