April 6, 2012
Baylor's Brittney Griner was named winner of the 2012 John R. Wooden Award, presented at the Los Angeles Athletic Club Friday in Los Angeles. The award by Coach John Wooden's daughter, Nan. Baylor assistant coach Damion McKinney accepted the Award on Griner's behalf, as Griner had academic obligations.
Griner, a 6-8 post, led the Lady Bears to basketball's first-ever 40-0 season and the 2012 NCAA championship while averaging 23.3 points, 9.5 rebounds and a nation's-leading 5.2 blocks per game. Griner is the first Baylor player, and first Big 12 Conference player to win the Wooden Award.
Delaware's Elena Delle Donne, Skylar Diggins (Notre Dame), Nneka Ogwumike (Stanford) and Julie Wojta (Wisconsin-Green Bay) were the other four finalists for the Award.
In a statement, Griner said, "I am both humbled and honored to receive this most prestigious award and am extremely disappointed that I am unable to be there in person to accept this honor. I need to focus on finishing the semester strong in the classroom after spending the last month on the road with my team playing in the Big 12 and NCAA Tournaments.
"To receive an award that is named after the great John Wooden, considering all that he represents not only as a coach but as a molder of character of young men and women, is one of the most cherished moments of my athletic career, and most humbling," Griner added. "I want to thank the nationwide voters and the Los Angeles Athletic Club for this prestigious award, as well as my coaches, teammates, and especially my mom and dad, for without all of them, this would not be possible."
All players proved that they are making progress toward graduation and are maintaining at least a cumulative 2.0 GPA. Voters were asked to take into account performance during the regular season and postseason through the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament, as well as a player's character and academic performance, essential components of an outstanding player.
Griner also received both the Wade and Naismith Trophies, was named AP Player of the Year and received the USBWA's Ann Meyers Drysdale National Player of the Year Award. In addition, the consensus All-American was both the NCAA Final Four and Des Moines Regional's Most Outstanding Player, WBCA Defensive Player of the Year and Big 12 Conference Player and Defensive Player of the Year. She led the NCAA in blocked shots (206), and was second in field goal percentage (60.9 percent) and seventh in points per game (23.2). Set a Big 12 women's single-season scoring record (929) and also owns the league's career block record (599).
In three seasons, Griner has become the first NCAA player to score 2,000 points and block 500 shots, she has 2,425 points and 599 blocks to her credit and needs just 65 blocks to become NCAA women's basketball's all-time block shot leader.