The John R. Wooden Award is named, of course, in honor of a man who spent his career coaching in what is now the Pac-12 Conference.
Wooden could not be happy to learn that when the 25 midseason candidates for his award were announced today, none of them was from the Pac-12.
He couldn’t have been terrible surprised, either.
The ACC, Big Ten, Big East and SEC each have four representatives on the list, the Big 12 has three. There is one each from the Big West, Conference USAm Big Sky, MAAC (admit it, you have no idea), the Missouri Valley and the Mountain West.
None from the Pac-12.
Not Cal’s Jorge Gutierrez, not Washington’s Terrence Jones, not Oregon State’s Jared Cunningham.
But . . . Scott Machado of Iona is on the list. Iona plays in the MAAC — the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference — which also features the likes of Canisius, Marist and St. Peter’s.
Machado seems to be a very good player. He averages 13.1 points per game and leads the nation in assists at 10.3 per outing. He’s had 15 or more in four different games. His team also lost to Manhattan.
Doug McDermott of Creighton seems entirely deserving. He’s averaging 24.3 points, 8.2 rebounds and shoots 62 percent from the field for a team that is 16-2 with a win over San Diego State. He had 44 points against Bradley.
Then there’s Oakland HS grad and NCAA scoring leader Damian Lillard of Weber State. He’s on the list. thanks to his 25.5 scoring average, although he shot 4 for 17 and scored a season-low in a loss at Cal. Where the guy defending him was Jorge Gutierrez.