Aquinas grad a finalist for one of college basketball's most prestigious awards
Jalen Pickett has gone from Aquinas to John R. Wooden Award semifinalist.
The Penn State guard's sizzling season now includes recognition as one of the top 20 college basketball players in the country.
Pickett, a 6 foot-4 inch guard for the Nittany Lions, is on the Wooden Award "Late Season" Top 20 list released Monday. The winner of the college basketball player of the year award is announced in April.
Sunday, Pickett finished with 25 points in a runaway 83-61 win at home over Michigan.
That increased his season average to 17.6 points, with 8 rebounds and 7 assists a game. His performance led CBS studio analysts Seth Davis and Clark Kellogg to smile about the two-time Democrat and Chronicle All-Greater Rochester high school player's "old-school" style of play.
"Jalen Pickett of Penn State, scores, rebounds, assists and doesn't turn it over. He's a legit stud," ESPN analyst Jay Bilas said back in December in a Tweet.
This is Pickett's fifth season in NCAA basketball, second at Penn State, after playing at mid-major Siena College near Albany. Pickett scored 20 points at Illinois on Dec. 10, already the third time he hit that mark this season.
That was also the start of a span where he dropped 20 or more in four of five games, including 26 against Iowa, 26 at Michigan and 26 at home against mighty Purdue. He also scored 19 points at Wisconsin on Jan. 17.
Jalen Pickett at Aquinas
A group of high school basketball coaches, administrators with Democrat and Chronicle staff members selected Pickett to the AGR Boys Basketball 2010-19 All-Decade Team. He was a two-time, first team All-Greater Rochester selection.
Pickett scored 20 points and gathered 10 rebounds a game as Aquinas won the 2016 New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class AA state championship.
This article originally appeared on Rochester Democrat and Chronicle: Jalen Pickett on Late Season Top 20 Watch List for Wooden Award