Texas A&M women's basketball standout, junior forward Kelsey Bone, received the latest in what has become an exciting series of distinctions, as she was named to the John R. Wooden Award Midseason Top 20 list today.
The John R. Wooden Award Midseason Top 20 was announced by The Los Angeles Athletic Club President Steve Hathaway. Selected by the Wooden Award National Advisory Board, the list is "made up of 20 student-athletes who, based on their performances in November, December, and January, are the frontrunners for college basketball’s most prestigious honor."
Among so many of the distinctions Kelsey Bone has received in the past 90 days, including being named SEC Player of the Week for two consecutive weeks and being named ESPN's National Player of the Week, making the Wooden List is arguably her most prestigious accolade to date. It's also far from the last one to be expected for the junior standout, whose play continues to improve weekly, seemingly inspired and guided by Associate Head Coach Bob Starkey, and anchor to Head Coach Gary Blair's starting lineup, as the Aggies continue their move up the national rankings in their debut SEC season.
There's no question, though, that Associate Head Coach Kelly Bond believed in Bone's talent, even when Kelsey didn't believe it herself. That's what coaches do, in getting you from what you can become to the person and player you can become.
The Houston native leads the Southeastern Conference in rebounds per game (10.2) and is second in points per game (17.9), leading to two Player of the Week honors this season. Bone leads the SEC in double-doubles this season with nine, bringing her career total to 23 double-doubles. The Aggie Athletics web site notes that Texas A&M's Kelsey Bone and Kentucky Senior Guard A’dia Mathies are the only representatives from the SEC to this list.
Kelsey Bone is deserving of this distinction, if judged only on her attitude toward "team first," and personal accolades secondary. Her selfless play has seen her frequently passing the ball off or kicking the ball out to a shooter who might be more open at the time. Given the way some "stars" play the game, it's worth holding up as an example of Bone's play. Something more subtle, though, is Bone's leadership of the team at all times, even when no one is paying attention.
In the most recent home game at Reed Arena, freshman standout Peyton Little had flown past the base line and into the padded area of the hoop, "going for the shot." She ended up crosswise and upside down in the crowd. During the timeout, team trainer Radar Ricke didn't even have to worry, because onto the court marched Kelsey, with a fresh towel and a bottle of Gatorade as she strode across to meet up with her teammate.
That's essentially what's so very special about Bone. She nurtures and encourages her teammates in a way that makes you glad you are a fan of Texas A&M. During the Aggies' game versus Georgia, as she was on the sidelines during a break in the action, television cameras captured her more than once jumping up and down on the sidelines, applauding her teammates' play. Just another example of her character and class, which is exactly what John Wooden encouraged above all during his coaching days. He was not given to pretense, anger or emotion as a coach. Longtime fame fans will recall Wooden as calm, cool and collected, usually holding a rolled-up program in one hand as he watched game play and strategized UCLA play toward 10 national championships in 12 years, seven of those consecutive wins.
Details on the award include:
"Created in 1976, the John R. Wooden Award is the most prestigious individual honor in college basketball. It is bestowed upon the nation’s best player at an institution of higher education who has proven to his or her university that he or she is making progress toward graduation and maintaining a minimum cumulative 2.0 GPA. Previous winners include such notables as Larry Bird (’79), Michael Jordan (’84), Tim Duncan (’97), Candace Parker (’07 and ’08), Kevin Durant (’09) and Maya Moore of Connecticut (’09 and ‘11)."
"Since its inception, the John R. Wooden Award has contributed close to a million dollars to universities’ general scholarship fund in the names of the All American recipients. The Award has also sent more than 1,000 underprivileged children to week-long college basketball camps in the Award’s name."
The list of honorees includes: Alex Bentley (Penn State), Elena Delle Donne (Delaware), Skylar Diggins (Notre Dame), Stefanie Dolson (UConn), Kelly Faris (UConn), Angel Goodrich (Kansas), Chesea Gray (Duke), Brittney Griner (Baylor), Tianna Hawkins (Maryland), Tayler Hill (The Ohio State University), Maggie Lucas (Penn State), A'dia Mathes (Kentucky), Kayla McBride (Notre Dame), Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis (UConn), Chiney Ogwumike (Stanford), Sugar Rodgers (Georgetown), Odyssey Sims (Baylor), Alyssa Taylor (Maryland), and Elizabeth Williams (Duke).
Bone and the Aggies return to action this Thursday night at 7 p.m. in Starkville, Miss. against Mississippi State and former A&M associate head coach Vic Schaefer, who is in his first season as the Bulldogs’ head coach. Watch for Kelsey Bone to rise above and beyond, and go for another double-double as she leads her team in this historic, exciting matchup. Gig 'em Aggies and congratulations to Kelsey Bone, on this latest accomplishment.