The race for college basketball’s version of the Heisman Trophy was narrowed down to 25 candidates on Wednesday, with a pair of Tar Heels making the cut.
Point guard Joel Berry and small forward Justin Jackson–both juniors–were each listed among the Wooden Award’s Midseason Top 25 after their hot starts have helped No. 11 UNC get off to a 14-3 start this season.
Berry has admirably filled the leadership void left behind by Marcus Paige, while also averaging 15 points and nearly four rebounds and assists per game.
The Florida native has also been recognized as the ACC Player of the Week on three occasions this year.
Jackson, meanwhile, has played both inside and outside on defense and leads the Tar Heels in scoring.
A lanky, 6-foot-8-inch wing, Jackson is averaging 17.6 points per night thanks to a much-improved shot from three-point range which has created all kinds of mismatches for opposing defenders.
With 41 made three-pointers through the first 17 games, the native of Tomball, Texas has set himself on pace to threaten Shammond Williams’ single-season school record of 95.
The pair makes UNC one of just five schools–along with UCLA, Kansas, Kentucky and Wisconsin–to have two players on the Midseason Wooden Award Top 25.
A Top 20 list will be released in February, the finalists will be announced in March and the winner will be announced in early April around the time of the Final Four.
For the full Midseason Wooden Top 25 list, click here.