Zeller (15.6 points per game in 2011-12) leads an Indiana team that enters the 2012-13 season as No. 1 in the AP's preseason rankings. Creighton's McDermott earned All-America honors last season after leading the Bluejays to a 29-6 record.
This year's class includes multiple mid-major stars who excelled last season. Murray State's Isaiah Canaan, Lehigh's C.J. McCollum and Gonzaga's Elias Harris join McDermott on the watch list. Zeller is one of nine representatives from the Big Ten, which leads all conferences. Louisville (Gorgui Dieng, Chane Behanan and Peyton Siva) is the only school with three players on the award's preseason watch list.
Freshmen and transfers are not eligible, but they can be added to the list as the season progresses and ultimately win the award. Former Kentucky star Anthony Davis won the honor last season as a freshman.
The John R. Wooden Award has been distributed since 1977, when UCLA's Marques Johnson captured it. Media members vote on a list of candidates that's established by the award's national advisory board toward the end of the season.