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Monday, January 15, 2018

Making a Case for Asia Durr: Wooden Award Winner -- MONDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Last week, the Los Angeles Athletic Club released the midseason top 25 list for the women's edition of the John R Wooden Award. The Wooden Award, for those unfamiliar, is akin to the Heisman Trophy in college basketball. It is not the only individual honor granted to the "best player" but is considered the most prestigious. The Wooden Award was first awarded to Marques Johnson of UCLA as the National Player of the Year for the 1976-1977 season. The award was brought to women's college basketball in the 2003-2004 season, naming Alana Beard of Duke the Player of the Year in the women's game. 

Louisville has had one Wooden winner, Darrell Griffith in 79-80. Ralph Sampson is the only men's player to win the Wooden Award twice. Conversely, in the 14 seasons the Wooden Award has been in women's basketball, only seven schools have laid claim to the "best player in the country." Duke, Stanford, and Washington each have one award, with LSU, Tennessee, and Baylor all claiming two. Connecticut has the other five. Each team with more than one award has had the same player win more than one award, with UCONN having two 2-time winners in Maya Moore and Breanna Stewart. Ironically, Moore's wins were not consecutive, being split by teammate Tina Charles winning in 09-10. 

Louisville has recently claimed the player of the year awards in football and baseball, with Lamar Jackson and Brendan McKay leaving their marks on the Cardinal trophy case. They join Darrell Griffith's Wooden Award, and it seems as though there should be some space made for another POTY trophy soon. 

Asia Durr has been outstanding in this, her junior season. Her competition is stiff, to be sure. She's one of just 25 remaining on the watch list, which will be cut to 15 before the final selection. The 25 players currently on the midseason list are not guaranteed to be on the Final Ballot as each year a player has made it onto the Final Ballot that was not on the preseason or midseason lists. Durr is joined by names you'll have heard before. The full list is below.

Graphic from

Durr has been instrumental to Louisville's success this season. To suggest that the team would still be undefeated at this point without her would be foolish. While the award isn't given to a single team's MVP, it is hard to ignore the MVP of the undefeated, second ranked team in the country. Durr currently ranks first on the team in points, field goals made, threes made, three point percentage, free throws made, and free throw percentage (>15 attempts). She's second on the team in minutes per game and ranks near the bottom among major contributors in fouls per game and turnovers per game (lower rankings are good in those categories).

In addition to her team stats, Durr's name appears quite often when browsing the national stats pages. Durr is 9th in total points scored, 50th in free throw percentage, 22nd in field goals made, 105th in field goal percentage, 18th in points per game, tied for 8th in threes made, 12th in three pointers per game, and first in three point percentage. Keep in mind that there are 349 women's basketball teams, which means that these rankings are out of nearly 4,000 players. Durr is ahead of most of the other players on the Wooden list in many rankings and when someone is ahead of her in one category, they usually aren't ahead in other categories.

Asia Durr has shined brightest in the most important games of the season so far. There will be more huge games on the schedule, and Durr will be important in every game for the Cards this season for them to continue the season they're having. Though she jumps off of the screen every time Louisville is shown on TV, perhaps no game is bigger for Durr's Wooden campaign than the February 12th matchup against Connecticut. In that game, Durr will have the opportunity to go up against four (!!) fellow watch list candidates. Given her propensity to go off in the big games, I would look for Durr to have another huge game in Storrs. 

There is a lot of this season remaining, and presumably an entire season remaining to enjoy Asia Durr's game and contribution to the Louisville team. As we recently learned with Lamar Jackson and Brendan McKay, though, that time can fly by. As soon as a star is gone, you quickly realize that there could never have been enough opportunities to see them play. As far as Asia Durr goes, if she keeps playing the way she has been so far this year, we may soon have another trophy to add to the case.

A nice read on what former Cards think about this team.:


Until next time, Go Cards!


  1. A nice look at Asia today, Case. UConn will argue (maybe with some possible merit) that Samuelson is just as a bona fide candidate and South Carolina without A'ja Wilson is a completely different team but Durr certainly looks to be the front runner.

    Meanwhile, My Clemson Tigers remain perfect (we haven't won yet in-conference) with the 72-60 loss to Miami and Notre Dame showed no ill effect from the Louisville loss by romping. BC by almost 30. Pitt is next for the Cards and they pulled of a minor upset with a win over Georgia Tech up in Pittsburgh.

    Hang in there with the weather, Cards fans.

    Your friend
    #1 Clemson Fan
    Greer, SC

  2. Durr not as influential as Wilson has been. She's your leader for award

    1. Hasn’t been influential? I doubt y’all win the SEC this year let along have a real chance of repeating. Worry about that

  3. Anonymous?! Durr will take that trophy for sure

    1. Wouldn't be too sure of that, Denise. Media perception of Louisville on a national level is a over-achieving team that will finally falter in Storrs.

  4. Surprised MHA didn't get ACC co-player of the week with 31 points 12 rebounds 3 assist etc etc really. Wow!

  5. The Bird Lady1/15/2018 3:34 PM

    MHA does suffer a bit in consideration due to Durr, but I bet if you asked Myisha she would rather have Durr on her team and keep winning ;)

    1. Very true! Asia is awesome and we'll deserved! And yes those three's are a thing of beauty. I looked at the over all stats and I feel MHA is scoring and pulling down significant rebounds, last three of four games she had double doubles. But the win is most important in the end I realize that. But hey she is killing it!

  6. Unsurprisingly, due to her position and talent, MHA is tops on the team (and ranks in the top 50 in the country) in total field goal percentage.

  7. Good one tonight on ESPN 2 as Texas hosts UConn. Bad news. Rebecca UConn and Idi Amin with the call. Expect a two-hour UConn love-in



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