Ware named to Wooden top 50 list

For the first time in program history, the Long Beach State men’s basketball team has a candidate for the John Wooden Award — the most prestigious individual award in NCAA basketball.

Senior point guard Casper Ware was among the top 50 players to be named to a preseason list released Monday by award sponsor the Los Angeles Athletic Club.

It felt good,” Ware said of first receiving the news from LBSU assistant athletic director Todd Miles. “Only 50 players are nominated, so it shows how far my team and I have come from where we were.”

Ware, who was one of 20 finalists last season for the Bob Cousy Award (recognizes the top men’s collegiate point guard), led the 49ers in scoring (17.2), assists (150) and steals (56) last year when the LBSU won the Big West regular-season title, advanced to the finals of the Big West Tournament, and played in the National Invitational Tournament.

“We are very excited for Casper,” LBSU head coach Dan Monson said. “He has worked extremely hard over the last four years, and it is great to see that people are noticing that he is one of the top point guards in America.”

Ware was also an honorable mention All-America Team pick, and was named the Big West Conference Player of the Year and Big West Conference Defensive Player of the Year — the first player in conference history to win both awards in the same season.

Ware also earned a spot on the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) All-District 9 Team, as well as a place on the U.S. Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) All-District IX Team, the 2011 Lefty Driesell Defensive All-America Team, and the 2011 Lou Henson All-America Team (the mid-major All-America team).

“If you win, everything will take care of itself,” Ware said. “All the extra acknowledgments will come as we win. We talk about playing together as a team and winning games.”

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