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Six Maui Invitational players on Wooden Award list

October 4, 2011 - Robert Collias
The John R. Wooden Award annually marks the best player in college basketball and six players who will take part in the EA Sports Maui Invitational next month at the Lahaina Civic Center made the preseason top-50 list for the award that was released Monday, surprisingly none of them from four-time M.I. champ Duke.

UCLA's Reeves Nelson and Joshua Smith, Memphis' Joe Jackson and Will Barton, Michigan's Tim Hardaway Jr., and Kansas' Thomas Robinson are the players on the Wooden list who will be on Maui.

An early look at the preseason rankings shows that five teams will come to Maui ranked, tying the all-time-best mark in that category with the vaunted 2006 tournament that featured six former national championship teams, all since 1988.

On this list from Fox Sports Duke checks in at No. 6, Memphis is No. 9, Kansas is No. 15, Michigan is No. 16, and UCLA is No. 25. That list was sent out Aug. 16.

In other lists sent out in April, right after the NCAA Tournament concluded, ESPN's Andy Katz put Duke No. 6, Memphis No. 9, Kansas No. 12, Michigan No. 16, and UCLA No. 17.

There was speculation from the Roblog back in March if Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski would break the all-time win mark on Maui, but that probably won't happen with a look at the Duke schedule. Coach K has an even 900 wins and the record is 902 by Bobby Knight. With Belmont on Nov. 11 and Presbyterian on Nov. 12 at Cameron Indoor Stadium, a Madison Square Garden date with Michigan State on Nov. 15 and Davidson on Nov. 18 back in Cameron before meeting Tennessee in their Maui opener Nov. 21, the Dukies will have that taken care of, no doubt.

Any way y'all slice it, however, the 27th version of the Maui Invitational could end up being the best ever.


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