The Wooden Award pre-season watch list is out and a few local athletes made a strong showing. The Northwest is represented well on the list, with Gonzaga's Elias Harris, Washington's Isaiah Thomas and Washington State's Klay Thompson making an appearance in the preseason top 50.
Thomas, the Pac-10 freshman of the year two years ago, continues to grow as the leader of the Washington Huskies. As an all Pac-10 selection last year, Thomas was an integral part of the Huskies run to the Sweet Sixteen. The junior was named a captain prior to this season and is stepping up as a vocal leader for UW.
Thompson has been a standout performer for the Washington State Cougars since he stepped on campus two years ago. The deadly shooter has been working to become a more all-around player, getting to the hoop and the foul line more last year and taking on a bigger scoring role for the Cougs. The junior is part of a young nucleus for WSU that expects to leap up the Pac-10 standings after a 10th place finish last year. Thompson was also a first team all Pac-10 selection last season.
Gonzaga sophomore Elias Harris is a physical specimen that dominated the WCC from the get-go. Harris averaged 14.9 points and 7.1 rebounds for the Zags last year, earning him the WCC newcomer of the year award and first-team all-WCC honors. The sophomore is widely expected to declare for the NBA draft following this season.