Thomas Gardner has improved this season. The John R. Wooden Award committee recognized it.
Last weekend, the committee selected 30 NCAA players as midseason candidates for the Wooden Player of the Year Award.
Gardner, a 6-foot-5 junior guard for Missouri, joined Texas players LaMarcus Aldridge and P.J. Tucker as the only players from the Big 12 Conference to make the list.
The committee selects candidates based on individual performance and team success. This season, Gardner has elevated his game, more than doubling his 10.4 points per game last year to lead the conference with 21.3 this year. He also leads the conference in 3-point shooting, hitting better than 40 percent, making 3.6 a game.
One of the more memorable performances of the season came this year when Missouri (10-8, 3-4 Big 12) defeated Kansas 89-86 at home in an overtime thriller in front of a national television audience. Gardner scored 40 points, including 18 in the final 12 minutes of the game and gave the Tigers the decisive lead when he hit two free throws with 1:01 remaining in overtime.
Gardner has been playing especially well in Big 12 games this year, missing the 20-point mark only once in seven games.
The Tigers had not had a player make the mid-season Wooden award list since Kareem Rush did so during the 2001-02 season.