With the start of the Colorado men’s basketball season more than a month away, two Buffs are already receiving an encouraging season outlook.
Senior guard Cory Higgins and sophomore guard Alec Burks were among the athletes named to The John R. Wooden Top 50 list, announced on Monday in Los Angeles. The list compiles the top players vying for college basketball’s top honor, based on last season’s performance.
It is the first time in CU history that two Colorado players are named on the list in the same year.
For the 2011 ballot, the Buffs share this two-player distinction with only five other schools including Gonzaga, Michigan State, Syracuse and last season’s national champions Duke who each have two players named to the list. Purdue saw three of its players named to the Wooden Award list.
Higgins and Burks are the fourth and fifth Buffs respectively to have their names added to the list after Donnie Boyce in the 1994-95 season, Chauncey Billups in the Buffs 1995-96 campaign and the most recent, David Harrison during the 2003-04 season.
Higgins, a senior out of Danville, Calif., has started in every game since arriving in Boulder and enters his senior year with 94 career starts for the Buffs. He sits at fourth place on the school’s all-time scoring list with 1,391 points.
“Anytime you get recognized for your hard work, it’s an honor, especially to be named on this list,” Higgins said in a news release.
The Big 12 Conference Freshman of the Year last season, Burks finished with the accolade thanks to a fourth place ranking in the nation among all freshmen with his 17.1 points per game.
Finishing the season with 512 points, Burks also shattered Richard Roby’s previous record of 480 points to become the Buffs all-time freshmen leader in points scored.
“To be honored by the committee is a great feeling, and to be listed among the nation’s elite, shows the hard work is paying off,” Burks said.
Last season, the pair averaged out 36 points per game combined.
The Big 12 was well represented with seven individuals, one more than CU’s future conference, the Pac-10. The Big 10 lead the group of 11 conferences with 10 players from the league chosen to the list.
Previous winners include Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, Tim Duncan and Maya Moore of Connecticut.
Named after legendary UCLA head coach and former Purdue player John Wooden, the 35th annual Wooden Award ceremony will take place the weekend of April 8 to April 10, 2011.
Contact CU Independent Sports Editor Esteban L. Hernandez at Esteban.email@example.com.