Motley, Davis, Jones named to Wooden Midseason Top 25 List

REACHING NEW HEIGHTS Baylor junior forward Johnathan Motley goes up for a layup against the Oregon Ducks on Nov. 15, 2016, in Waco. The Bears won the game 66-49. Photo credit: Jessica Hubble

By Ben Everett | Sports Writer

Baylor men’s basketball’s Johnathan Motley and Baylor women’s basketball’s Nina Davis and Alexis Jones were each named to the Wooden Award Midseason Top 25 last week for men’s and women’s basketball, respectively.

The John R. Wooden Award is given each year to the most outstanding men’s and women’s college basketball players.

Before each season, a list of 50 potential Wooden Award winners is released. This is followed by the Midseason Top 25 in January, which is whittled down to 20 in February. A final ballot is released in March, and the winner is announced in April following the Final Four.

Johnathan Motley

Motley, a junior forward from Houston, leads the Bears in scoring and rebounding, putting up 15.8 points and 9.7 rebounds per game on the season.

Motley expressed gratitude for his teammates in helping him be recognized.

“It’s a good accomplishment but I couldn’t have done it without my teammates,” Motley said. “They helped me get the accolades. They believe in my ability almost more than I do. I’m just thankful for my teammates-the confidence they give me to go out and perform.”

Motley is one of four players, along with Duke’s Luke Kennard, UCLA’s TJ Leaf and Butler’s Kelan Martin, who was added to the list despite not being included in the initial list of 50.

Motley is one of four Big 12 conference players on the list, joining Iowa State’s Monte Morris and Kansas’ Josh Jackson and Frank Mason III.

Motley has led the Bears to a 17-1 start with a 5-1 record in Big 12 play. Additionally, he has been a main factor in the Baylor men’s basketball team earning their first No. 1 ranking.

The Bears take on TCU at 7 p.m. Saturday in Fort Worth.

Nina Davis and Alexis Jones

IN A CLASS ALL BY HERSELF Baylor Lady Bears senior guard Nina Davis drives to the lane for a wide open layup against TCU on Jan. 11 in Waco. The Lady Bears won the game 77-54. Photo credit: Liesje Powers

Davis is a two-time finalist for the Wooden Award, being selected in both 2015 and 2016. Jones is making her first appearance on the list.

Davis is averaging 11.6 points and 4.4 rebounds per game this year while Jones is leading the Lady Bears in scoring at 15.3 points per game while shooting 44 percent from three-point range.

Davis shrugged off the idea of individual awards meaning more than team results.

“It’s a great honor, and it’s definitely a blessing,” Davis said. “Individual awards are great, but they come and go. We have one common goal this year, and that’s to win a national championship. So it’s definitely an honor, but that’s not really what we’re focused on.”

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AHEAD OF THE CROWD Baylor Lady Bears guard Alexis Jones heads on a fast break against Iowa State on Jan. 18 in Waco. The Lady Bears won the game 68-42. Photo credit: Dayday Wynn

Jones expressed similar gratitude for the consideration and stressed a focus on team goals.

“I’m thankful for being considered for it,” Jones said, “but we have one common goal, and that’s to get to the Final Four.”

Davis and Jones have led the Lady Bears to an 18-1 record, including 16 straight wins, and a 7-0 conference record.

The Lady Bears are one of four teams to have multiple players on the list, joining Connecticut, Maryland and South Carolina.

The Lady Bears face West Virginia at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Ferrell Center.