The 19th Annual John R. Wooden Classic will take place on Saturday, December 1 at Honda Center. This year’s event will feature an exciting matchup between long-time Wooden Classic participant UCLA and San Diego State, a program fresh off their third consecutive NCAA tournament appearance.
“Our entire family is thrilled to continue the tradition of the Wooden Classic and is very much looking forward to this December,” said Jim and Nan Wooden. “For nearly two decades this event has provided countless memories both on and off the court, and continues to be a moving testament to the memory of our father.”
This will be the third John R. Wooden Classic since the passing of the event’s namesake. Each year, the event serves to not only deliver memorable college basketball, but also showcase the teachings and ideals of legendary coach and humanitarian John Wooden. Host and producer, Anaheim Arena Management, has worked with the Wooden family to establish a day of spirited and proper tributes.
“With two of Southern California’s greatest teams lined up for this year we expect a raucous crowd and exciting atmosphere,” said Tim Ryan, Honda Center President and Chief Executive Officer. “We have been privileged to host the Wooden Classic since its inception in 1994 and we look forward to celebrating John Wooden’s legacy again this December.”
The UCLA Bruins will return three starters in 2012-13, including Pac-12 All-Conference performer David Wear. UCLA also returns four of its top five scorers in Travis Wear (11.5 ppg), David Wear (10.2 ppg), Joshua Smith (9.9 ppg) and Tyler Lamb (9.0 ppg). The Bruins will also welcome a nationally-ranked recruiting class that currently consists of Top Five recruit Kyle Anderson (St. Anthony High School) and Top 40 prospect Jordan Adams (Oak Hill Academy).
This is UCLA’s 16th appearance in the John R. Wooden Classic. The Bruins sport an 11-4 (.733) all-time record in Wooden Classic matchups. UCLA has won its last two meetings in the Wooden Classic, beating previously unbeaten and 16th-ranked BYU (10-0) in 2010 and the University of Arizona last season. Honda Center served as one of UCLA’s home courts during the 2010-11 season as Pauley Pavilion was renovated. UCLA went 4-0 in Honda Center a year ago, defeating UC Davis, Penn, Arizona and Arizona State.
“We are excited to have the opportunity to continue to take part in the Wooden Classic,” said UCLA Head Coach Ben Howland. “This has always been a great event that, first and foremost, continues to honor the tradition of Coach Wooden and his legacy. Additionally, it gives us the chance to reward loyal Bruin fans in Orange County with a game in their backyard in a wonderful facility like Honda Center.”
San Diego State returns four starters and its top four scorers off last season’s squad that finished 26-8, shared its second consecutive Mountain West Conference regular season title, was nationally-ranked each of the final 12 weeks of the season and advanced to its third consecutive NCAA Tournament. The Aztecs welcome back conference player of the year and Associated Press honorable mention All-American Jamaal Franklin, who led the league in scoring as a sophomore last season.
Two-time national coach of the year Steve Fisher has built San Diego State into one of the most successful programs in the country. The Aztecs have been to postseason play in each of the last seven seasons and are one of seven schools nationally to win 25 or more games each of the last four seasons.
“We are honored to have an opportunity to play in an event that bears the name of John Wooden,” Fisher said. “I had the privilege to get to know Coach Wooden and he is what every coach aspires to be. It is very special to play in his event against the school for which he coached.”
About the Wooden Classic
Established in 1994, the Wooden Classic is an annual tribute to the legendary former coach and the excellence he personified. The event, produced by Anaheim Arena Management, LLC, has a tradition of bringing the nation’s finest college programs to Southern California.
In addition to college basketball, charitable activities surrounding the event have raised over two million dollars, with beneficiaries including Special Olympics Southern California and Orangewood Children’s Home.