ELMHURST, Ill. – South Dakota State's Nate Wolters, The Summit League's Preseason Player of the Year, was named to the John Wooden Award Preseason Top 50 announced today by The Los Angeles Athletic Club on ESPN.com. Chosen by a preseason poll of national college basketball media members, the list is comprised of 50 student-athletes who, based on last year's individual performance and team records, are the early front-runners for college basketball's most prestigious honor.

Wolters, who is also one of 30 national candidates for the men's basketball Senior CLASS Award, is the nation's fourth-leading returning scorer at 21.2 points per game. He enters the upcoming season as The Summit League's active career leader in points and assists, while ranking third in rebounds. Last season, Wolters became just the fifth player in NCAA history to average 20 points, five assists (5.9) and five rebounds (5.1) per game.

Wolters and his South Dakota State teammates open the 2012-13 season Friday with a nationally-televised contest at Alabama (9 p.m. ET on ESPNU).

Transfers, freshmen and medical redshirts are not eligible for the Preseason Top 50. The players on the list are considered strong candidates for the midseason list and the official voting ballot, both of which are open to freshman and transfer students. The National Ballot consists of approximately 20 top players who have proven to their universities that they are also making progress toward graduation and maintaining at least a cumulative 2.0 GPA.  The Wooden Award All American Team, consisting of the nation's top 10 players, will be announced the week of the "Elite Eight" round of the NCAA Tournament.

The 37th annual Wooden Award ceremony will honor the Men's and Women's Wooden Award winners, and will include the presentation of the Wooden Award All American Teams and the Legends of Coaching Award, which in 2013 will go to Kansas Head Coach Bill Self. The event will take place the weekend of April 12-13, 2013.

ABOUT SUMMIT LEAGUE MEN'S BASKETBALL
Entering its fourth decade of Division I athletics, The Summit League features men's basketball teams from nine member institutions: Fort Wayne, IUPUI, Kansas City, North Dakota State, Oakland, Omaha, South Dakota, South Dakota State and Western Illinois. Known as the Mid-Continent Conference until 2007, The Summit League enjoyed unprecedented success during a 2011-12 campaign that included an all-time best final RPI ranking, the highest home attendance in league history, the most teams in postseason tournaments, a record total of all-district honorees and the NCAA scoring champion. For more information about the league and to "See The Summit", visit www.thesummitleague.org and follow Summit League Basketball on Twitter @summithoops.

ABOUT THE JOHN R. WOODEN AWARD
Created in 1976, the John R. Wooden Award is the most prestigious individual honor in college basketball.  It is bestowed upon the nation's best player at an institution of higher education who has proven to his or her university that he or she is making progress toward graduation and maintaining a minimum cumulative 2.0 GPA.  Previous winners include such notables as Larry Bird ('79), Michael Jordan ('84), Tim Duncan ('97), Candace Parker ('07 and '08), Kevin Durant ('09) and Maya Moore of Connecticut ('09 and '11). Kentucky freshman Anthony Davis won the men's Award in 2012.

Since its inception, the John R. Wooden Award has contributed close to a million dollars to universities' general scholarship fund in the names of the All American recipients. The Award has also sent more than 1,000 underprivileged children to week-long college basketball camps in the Award's name.   Additionally, the John R. Wooden Award partners with Special Olympics Southern California (SOSC) each year to host the Wooden Award Special Olympics Southern California Basketball Tournament.  The day-long tournament, which brings together Special Olympic athletes and the All Americans, takes place at The Los Angeles Athletic Club the weekend of the John R. Wooden Award Ceremony.

Follow the candidates and get the latest news throughout the season by logging on to www.WoodenAward.com or going to the Wooden Award facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/WoodenAward.

2012-13 John R. Wooden Award Preseason Top 50, Men

Name Height Class Position University Conference
Keith Appling 6-1 Jr. G Michigan State Big Ten
Chane Behanan 6-6 So. F Louisville Big East
Kenny Boynton 6-2 Sr. G Florida SEC
Lorenzo Brown 6-5 Jr. G North Carolina State ACC
Trey Burke 6-0 So. G Michigan Big Ten
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope 6-5 So. G Georgia SEC
Isaiah Canaan 6-1 Sr. G Murray State Ohio Valley
Jack Cooley 6-9 Sr. F Notre Dame Big East
D.J. Cooper 6-0 Sr. G Ohio University Mid-American
Vincent Council 6-2 Sr. G Providence Big East
Allen Crabbe 6-6 Jr. G California Pac-12
Aaron Craft 6-2 Jr. G Ohio State Big Ten
Seth Curry 6-2 Sr. G Duke ACC
Brandon Davies 6-9 Sr. F BYU West Coast
Matthew Dellavedova 6-4 Sr. G Saint Mary's West Coast
Gorgui Dieng 6-11 Jr. C Lousville Big East
Jamaal Franklin 6-5 Jr. G San Diego State Mountain West
Tim Frazier 6-1 Sr. G Penn State Big Ten
Tim Hardaway, Jr. 6-6 Jr. G Michigan Big Ten
Elias Harris 6-8 Sr. F Gonzaga West Coast
Solomon Hill 6-7 Sr. F Arizona Pac-12
Pierre Jackson 5-10 Sr. G Baylor Big 12
Elijah Johnson 6-4 Sr. G Kansas Big 12
Sean Kilpatrick 6-4 Jr. G/F Cincinnati Big East
C.J. Leslie 6-9 Jr. F North Carolina State ACC
James Michael McAdoo 6-9 So. F North Carolina ACC
Ray McCallum 6-3 Jr. G Detroit Horizon League
C.J. McCollum 6-3 Sr. G Lehigh Patriot League
Doug McDermott* 6-8 Jr. F Creighton Missouri Valley
Rodney McGruder 6-4 Sr. G Kansas State Big 12
Tony Mitchell 6-8 So. F North Texas Sun Belt
Mike Moser 6-8 Jr. F UNLV Mountain West
Brock Motum 6-10 Sr. F Washington State Pac-12
Le'Bryan Nash 6-7 So. G/F Oklahoma State Big 12
Brandon Paul 6-4 Sr. G Illinois Big Ten
Mason Plumlee 6-10 Sr. F Duke ACC
Otto Porter 6-8 So. F Georgetown Big East
Phil Pressey 5-11 Jr. G Missouri SEC
André Roberson 6-7 Jr. F Colorado Pac-12
Peyton Siva 6-0 Sr. G Louisville Big East
Michael Snaer 6-5 Sr. G Florida State ACC
Jarnell Stokes 6-8 So. F Tennessee SEC
Adonis Thomas 6-7 So. G/F Memphis Conference USA
Deshaun Thomas 6-7 Jr. F Ohio State Big Ten
Christian Watford 6-9 Sr. F Indiana Big Ten
Jeff Withey 7-0 Sr. C Kansas Big 12
Nate Wolters 6-4 Sr. G South Dakota State Summit League
B.J. Young 6-3 So. G Arkansas SEC
Patric Young 6-9 Jr. C Florida SEC
Cody Zeller 7-0 So. F Indiana Big Ten

Players listed alphabetically
*indicates player chosen to the 2012 Wooden All American Team
Based on a preseason poll. Award winner honored April 5, 2012 at The Los Angeles Athletic Club.

Courtesy:  The Summit League