Knecht One of Five Wooden Award Finalists

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DETROIT, MI - March 30, 2024 - Guard Dalton Knecht #3 of the Tennessee Volunteers during the Sweet Sixteen round game of the 2024 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament between the Creighton Bluejays and the Tennessee Volunteers at Little Caesars Pizza in Detroit, MI. Photo By Andrew Ferguson/Tennessee Athletics
DETROIT, MI - March 30, 2024 - Guard Dalton Knecht #3 of the Tennessee Volunteers during the Sweet Sixteen round game of the 2024 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament between the Creighton Bluejays and the Tennessee Volunteers at Little Caesars Pizza in Detroit, MI. Photo By Andrew Ferguson/Tennessee Athletics

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Dalton Knecht of the University of Tennessee men’s basketball team is a finalist for the elite John R. Wooden Award, given to the national player of the year, as announced Tuesday night on ESPN2.

The five finalists, as determined by the Los Angeles Athletic Club’s voting committee, are Knecht, North Carolina’s R.J. Davis, Purdue’s Zach Edey, Connecticut’s Tristen Newton and Houston’s Jamal Shead.

In addition, those five individuals are on the Wooden Award All-American Team, which is comprised of the top 10 vote-getters in award voting. The other five designees are Kansas’ Hunter Dickinson, Duke’s Kyle Filipowski, Marquette’s Tyler Kolek, San Diego State’s Jaedon LeDee and Arizona’s Caleb Love.

A fifth-year guard, Knecht is also one of four finalists for the Naismith Trophy and among 30 finalists for the Lute Olson National Player of the Year Award. He is also one of the five finalists for the Julius Erving Award, given to the nation’s best small forward.

The fourth consensus First Team All-American in Tennessee history, Knecht claimed SEC Player of the Year plaudits from both the league’s head coaches and the Associated Press, the latter unanimously. He helped lead Tennessee to its 11th SEC regular season title and its second Elite Eight appearance.

Knecht concluded his lone season as a Volunteer with 780 points, the second-most in a single campaign in program history. He averaged 21.7 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game, while shooting 45.8 percent from the floor, 39.7 percent beyond the arc and 77.2 percent at the stripe. His scoring average puts him eighth nationally, including third among Power Six players and first in the SEC.

In SEC play alone, Knecht put up 25.5 points per game, the second-best mark of any individual in the last 22 seasons (2002-24) and the top league-only scoring average in Division I this season.

A 6-foot-6, 213-pounder from Thornton, Colo., Knecht scored 35-plus points six times this season, setting a program record. Only one other player in the nation, Edey, did so on even four occasions. Knecht’s eight 30-point games put him third nationally in 2023-24 and co-fourth on Tennessee’s single-season list.

Voting for the Wooden Award took place from March 18-25. As insisted upon by coach Wooden at the Award’s creation 47 years ago, all players were certified by their universities as meeting or exceeding the criteria of the John R. Wooden Award. The 48th annual John R. Wooden Award presented by Principal Men’s Player of the Year will be announced on April 9 on SportsCenter on ESPN.

Source: UT Sports
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