Duke, Gonzaga, Michigan State, Purdue, Syracuse ... and Colorado?

That`s right, the Buffs are one of only six programs to have at least two players named to the John R. Wooden preseason top 50 list.

On Monday the Los Angeles Athletic Club announced that CU senior Cory Higgins and sophomore Alec Burks are both on the preseason watch list.

Higgins enters the season ranked ninth in CU history with 1,391 points and has started all 94 games of his career.

Burks is the reigning Big 12 freshman of the year after averaging 17.1 points and 5.0 rebounds last season. He was the first freshman in school history to score over 500 points.

Alec Burks becomes the all time freshman scorer at CU.Cliff Grassmick / March 6, 2010
Alec Burks becomes the all time freshman scorer at CU. Cliff Grassmick / March 6, 2010 ( Cliff Grassmick )

Both players are excited about playing the 2010-11 season together in Tad Boyle`s uptempo style after putting up impressive numbers in Jeff Bzdelik`s more methodical Princeton-style offense.

"Bzdelik didn`t really run too much, but Boyle says we`re going to run it a lot. We`re athletic people, so we love to run and gun," Burks said during a recent interview with the Camera. "With the altitude, the way me and Cory get deflections, it`s going to be a nightmare for people to try and get the ball up."

The only other CU players to make the prestigious preseason Wooden list are David Harrison (2003-04), Chauncey Billups (1995-96), and Donnie Boyce (1994-95).

"Anytime you get recognized for your hard work, it`s an honor, especially to be named on this list," Hig-gins said.

The Buffs will being practices on Oct. 15 and will open the season on Nov. 12 against Idaho State at the Coors Events Center.

The preseason Wooden Award list is highlighted by Duke`s Kyle Singler, Purdue`s Robbie Hummel and Michigan State`s Kalin Lucas.

Other Big 12 candidates include Baylor`s LaceDarius Dunn, Kansas` Marcus Morris, Kansas State`s Jacob Pullen, Missouri`s Kim English and Texas` Jordan Hamilton.

"To be honored by the committee is a great feeling, and to be listed among the nation`s elite, shows the hard work is paying off," Burks said.