News of a very prestigious and very deserving honor came through earlier this week when Iona's senior 6-foot-7 forward Michael Glover was picked on the Preseason Top 50 list of players under consideration for the John R. Wooden Award as picked by the Los Angeles Athletic Club.
The list is based on a preseason poll of national college basketball media members and is based on last year's individual performance and team runners. Transfers, freshmen and medical redshirts are not considered for the preseason list. Howeer, the National Ballot, which will eventually consist of approximately 20 top players to be determined later during this coming season, will include first-year Division I players.
To be eligible for both the preseason top 50 and the eventual season-ending ballot players must have proen that they are making progress toward graduation and be maintaining at least a 2.0 GPA. The final 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, and the nation's top player will also be announced at that time.
This is the 36th year of the Wooden awards.
Glover is the first player from the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference named to the preseason top 50 list since Rider's Jason Thompson was selected prior to the 2007-08 season.
It is indeed a rarity for players from mid-major level conferences to earn even the preseason honor.
Of the 50 players picked this preseason 10 come from the Big East, nine from the Big 10, seven from SEC and four from the ACC, Big 12 and Pac 12. The Atlantic 10, Big West and Conference USA have two picks each. Conferences with one player named include the Horizon League, the Ivy League, the Missouri Valley Conference, the Mountain West Conference and the WCC, along with the MAAC.
Glover led Iona in scoring (18.4 points) and rebounding (10.1) last season, the first player in that program's history to average a double-double since Jeff Ruland in the 1979-80 season.
He is also likely to be the MAAC's preseason Player of the Year pick when those awards are announced later this month.
Your blogging hoopscribe has been a first-hand MAAC observer as far back as the late 1980's, and the perception here is that Glover will eventually be recognized as one of the conference's top 10 players of all time, and one of the top three or four front-court players ever to play for a MAAC program.
It might still be a little early to make assessments, since Glover has only played one season so far for Iona. But, if his performance at least duplicates last season's, then he'll be recognized with the likes of La Salle's Lionel Simmons and Rider's Thompson as being among the best front-court players in league history.
A MAAC coach, who will remain unidentified here, recently spoke about his belief that Glover is the next MAAC player with a legitimate chance at a meaningful NBA career.
That's in the future. But Glover, based on his preseason selection to the Top 50 List for the Wooden Award, is already in good company.
A full list of the 50 preseason selectees can be found at a number of internet sites, including the Iona athletic website.