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Zach Edey, Dalton Knecht top Wooden finalists, All-American Team

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Reigning Wooden Award winner Zach Edey of Purdue and Tennessee’s Dalton Knecht headlined the award’s five finalists and 10-man All-American team announced Tuesday night.

The two stars are coming off one of the best NCAA tournament duels in history in the Boilermakers’ 72-66 regional final victory over the Volunteers. Edey finished with 40 points, 16 rebounds and the game-clinching block on a Knecht layup attempt, while Knecht had 37 points and six 3-pointers.

It was the first game in NCAA tournament history in which both teams had a player score at least half its points, according to ESPN Stats and Information research. Edey became the first player with 40 points, 15 rebounds and 60% field-goal shooting in a game since Houston’s Elvin Hayes in 1968.

Edey, a 7-foot-4 center, is the heavy frontrunner to win the Wooden Award, given annually to the best college basketball player in the country. He is aiming to be the first repeat winner since Virginia’s Ralph Sampson in 1982 and 1983.

After averaging 22.3 points and 12.9 rebounds last season, Edey has been even more dominant this season in leading Purdue to the Final Four. He leads the nation in scoring, averaging 25.0 points per game, while ranking third in rebounding with 12.2 boards per game.

Edey is averaging 30.0 points and 16.3 rebounds in four NCAA tournament games.

Knecht, a former junior college and Northern Colorado transfer, has been doing his best to make the Wooden Award a competitive race. He was the best perimeter player in the country this season, averaging 21.7 points and 4.9 rebounds and shooting 39.7% from 3-point range.

Knecht has an impressive collection of performances, including 40 points against Kentucky, 39 points against Auburn, 39 points against Florida, 37 points against North Carolina and 37 in the loss to Purdue.

Rounding out the group of five finalists for the Wooden Award are North Carolina’s RJ Davis, UConn’s Tristen Newton and Houston’s Jamal Shead.

Davis was the runaway winner for ACC Player of the Year, averaging 21.2 points and 3.5 assists while shooting 39.8% from 3. He had 42 points in a game against Miami in February and was UNC’s highest-scoring guard since Hubert Davis in 1991-92.

Newton has been the best player on the nation’s best team, averaging 15.0 points, 6.7 rebounds and 6.1 assists. He posted four triple-doubles this season.

Shead was arguably the best defender in college basketball this season, spearheading the Cougars’ elite unit on that side of the ball. He averaged 12.9 points and 6.3 assists.

In addition to those five award finalists, the Wooden Award Men’s All-American Team also included KansasHunter Dickinson, Duke‘s Kyle Filipowski, Marquette‘s Tyler Kolek, San Diego State’s Jaedon LeDee and Arizona‘s Caleb Love.

The Wooden Award winner will be announced April 12.



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