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Wisconsin men’s basketball: Johnny Davis named to Wooden Award watch list

The sophomore from LaCrosse has been one of the best players in the country all season and he is now being recognized as such.

Illinois State v Wisconsin Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images

It is kind of wild to think about where Johnny Davis is this season. At the beginning of the season I think everyone agreed that Davis was going to be better than he was last year and have improved stats. No one, except maybe his parents, thought that Davis was going to have this kind of season.

Currently the third leading scorer in the whole country, Davis has been named to the John R. Wooden Award Midseason Top-25. The list, comprised of 25 players who are front-runners for the sport’s most prestigious honor, was determined by a poll of national college basketball experts based on the performances during the 2021-22 season thus far.

Davis was, fairly, not on the list to start the season and he is one of nine players to make the leap into contention after their play through the first half of the season. Here are the other eight: James Akinjo (Baylor), Izaiah Brockington (Iowa State), Zach Edey (Purdue), Bennedict Mathurin (Arizona), Wendell Moore Jr. (Duke), Keegan Murray (Iowa), David Roddy (Colorado State) and Oscar Tshiebwe (Kentucky). The Big Ten leads all conferences with nine selections on the new list, followed by the Pac-12 with four, the Big 12 with three, the ACC, SEC and WCC with two selections each, and the Big East, Mountain West and Summit League with one selection apiece.

As luck would have it, Davis and Murray will be facing off on Thursday night (that’s tonight!) at the Kohl Center at 8 p.m. CT.

Davis ranks third in the nation (only 0.1 ppg behind second) averaging 22.3 points per game, also leading Wisconsin in rebounds (7.2 rpg), assists (2.6 apg) and steals (1.5 spg) and ranking second for UW with nine blocks.

Davis is the first Badger to appear on the Wooden Midseason List since Ethan Happ in 2019. Wisconsin has had a player go on to appear on the Wooden Award final ballot eight times, including Happ in 2019. Frank Kaminsky won the award in 2015, becoming the first player in program history to do so.

Here is how the rest of the voting for the award will go: Nearly 1,000 voters will rank in order 10 of those 15 players when voting opens prior to the NCAA Tournament and will allow voters to take into consideration performance during early round games. The Wooden Award All American Team will be announced the week of the Elite Eight round of the NCAA Tournament. The winner of the 2022 John R. Wooden Award will be announced following the NCAA Tournament in April.