Arizona Basketball

Ayton does not win John R. Wooden Award; but wins Karl Malone Award

Arizona freshman Deandre Ayton did not win the John R. Wooden Player of the Year Award on Friday night.

But he did win the Karl Malone Award, given to college basketball’s top power forward.

As for the Wooden Award, it was Villanova’s Jalen Brunson who named the Wooden Player of the Year. On Monday, Villanova won the national title. Last week, Brunson was named the Associated Press player of the year.

Deandre Ayton is Pac-12 Player of the Year. (Photo courtesy Rebecca Sasnett for Arizona Athletics)

Going into the month of March it appeared Ayton had a good shot at winning the award, but Brunson won. It’s not clear how Ayton’s connection into a play-for-pay scandal played a part in the voting, but could have been a problem. ESPN wrote a story in late February that UA coach Sean Miller allegedly was heard on a wiretap trying to secure Ayton’s services at UA. Miller has denied the accusation. Ayton’s attorney, too, has denied any wrongdoing.

The voting for the Wooden Award came in mid-March.

It’s not clear how the voting went but according to reports Brunson edged Devonte Graham of Kansas, Deandre Ayton of Arizona, Marvin Bagley III of Duke and Trae Young of Oklahoma.

The award show was held Friday night in Los Angeles. Last month, Ayton was named the Pac-12 Conference’s player of the year and freshman of the year.

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