St. Mary’s vs. Long Beach State at 11:45 a.m.
UCLA vs. BYU at 2:30 p.m.
The John R. Wooden Classic event will be held this year on Saturday, December 18th at Honda Center in Anaheim with UCLA making its 15th appearance in the seventeen year history of the one-day doubleheader. The rest of the four-team field boasts likely Top 20 ranked BYU, 2010 sweet sixteen participant St. Mary’s and Big West favorite Long Beach State.
“For the past 16 years we have been privileged to produce the John R. Wooden Classic and we look forward to once again celebrating John Wooden’s legacy and philosophy. Though we are saddened that Coach will not be with us in person this December, we know his inspiration carries on,” said Honda Center President and Chief Executive Officer Tim Ryan.
“We are in the fortunate position of helping pass along John Wooden’s teachings and ideals,” said Jim Sperry, President of Pantheon International. “We look forward to extending his message and putting on an event worthy of his name.”
Charitable event details and game tipoff times will be announced at a later date. Priority tickets are now available and can be found at www.woodenclassic.com. 2010-11 participating team previews can be found below:
20010-11 UCLA Bruins Men’s Basketball Preview
The UCLA Bruins return three starters and bring in another Top 15 recruiting class for the 2010-11 season. The Bruins are a young but very talented team. UCLA will rely on six freshmen, five sophomores and six juniors on the roster without any senior leadership for the upcoming season.
Ben Howland (166-72, .697) returns for his eighth season at UCLA and will look to junior guard Malcolm Lee (12.1 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 3.1 apg) to provide the leadership for this year's squad. Lee was one of only two Bruins to start all 32 games last year and is UCLA's leading returning scorer. The other two returning starters from a year ago were both on the Pac-10 All-Freshmen squad. Sophomore forwards Tyler Honeycutt (7.2 ppg, 6.5 rpg) and Reeves Nelson (11.1 ppg, 5.6 rpg) will shore up the Bruins' frontcourt. Lee will likely move to his original slot at shooting guard, making room for junior college transfer Lazeric Jones (John A. Logan College) to battle with returning junior guard Jerime Anderson (5.8 ppg, 3.4 apg) for playing time at the point. UCLA landed one of the top centers in the country and the top-rated big man in the West in Josh Smith (6-10, 305) from Kentwood High School in Kent, Wash.
2010-11 BYU Cougars Men’s Basketball Preview
Coming off a record-setting 30 win season and a trip to the second round of the NCAA Tournament in 2010, BYU returns the backcourt combo of seniors Jimmer Fredette and Jackson Emery — who will be starting together for a third-straight year — and eight other lettermen.
BYU men’s basketball will look to continue its successful run under head coach Dave Rose, who has guided the Cougars to four-straight 25-plus win seasons, four-straight trips to the NCAA Tournament and four-straight seasons ranked in the top 25. Rose has also led the Cougars to three Mountain West Conference regular season titles and two second-place finishes. BYU is loaded with the talent and experience to compete for the 2011 MWC title and make noise on the national scene.
2010-11 St. Mary’s Gaels Men’s Basketball Preview
Saint Mary's advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Men's basketball Tournament in 2010 and enters the new season poised once again for big accomplishments. The Gaels posted a 28-6 overall record, tying the school record for wins in a season, and won the West Coast Conference Tournament championship for the second time in school history.
Over the past three seasons, Saint Mary's has an 81-20 overall record, an .802 winning percentage, which is the fifth best in Division I basketball over that time. The Gaels return the starting back court of Mickey McConnell and Matthew Dellavedova, as well as starting forward Clint Steindl. As a junior, McConnell averaged 13.8 points and 5.3 assists per game, while shooting a nation's best 51 percent (77-151) from 3-point land. Dellavedova started every game as a freshman, and was third on the team in scoring at 12.1 points per game. The WCC Coach of the Year by the Sporting News, Randy Bennett is the school's all-time winningest coach with 183 wins and is 2-0 in two previous appearances in the John Wooden Classic.
2010-11 Long Beach State 49er’s Men’s Basketball Preview
After finishing just one win shy of advancing to the 2010 NCAA Tournament, Long Beach State looks to be in prime position to take the next step and join March Madness. The Beach returns four starters, including first-team All-Big West selection T.J. Robinson and second-team pick Casper Ware. Robinson, one of just 20 players in Division I basketball to average a double-double last season, and Ware are joined by fellow juniors Larry Anderson, a first-team All-Big West honoree as a freshman, and Eugene Phelps as returning starters. Sixth man Greg Plater looks to move into the starting lineup giving the 49ers a five-some that averaged 79.2 percent of their points last season, as well as 70.2 percent of their rebounds and 79.5 percent of their assists.
LBSU is battle tested coming into the season. In 2009-10, The Beach faced the toughest non-conference schedule in the country squaring off against five top 25 teams, including Duke (National Champion) and West Virginia (Final Four), while playing 10 games against teams that qualified for the NCAA Tournament. An experienced team led by the four returning starters, nine returning lettermen and a handful of talented recruits; The Beach is ready to join the elite come tournament time.
About the Wooden Classic
Established in 1994, the Wooden Classic is an annual tribute to the legendary former coach and the excellence he personified. The event, co-produced by Pantheon International, LLC and Anaheim Arena Management, LLC, has a tradition of bringing the nation’s finest college programs to Southern California.
In addition to college basketball, the event has annually included charitable activities which have raised over two million dollars since its inception in 1994 with beneficiaries including Special Olympics Southern California and Orangewood Children’s Home.
For more information, visit www.woodenclassic.com.