The first major national player of the year award is in and Anthony Davis is the winner.
Kentucky’s high-flying, shot-blocking anchor was awarded Monday with the 2012 Oscar Robertson Trophy, given by the U.S. Basketball Writers Associations to the national player of the year.
Davis, the nation’s leading shot blocker, is the first USBWA national player of the year from Kentucky and just the second from a Southeastern Conference school (LSU’s Pete Maravich was the first). He is also the second freshman to earn the honor, joining Texas’ Kevin Durant, and the second Wildcat in program history to win a major national player of the year award. John Wall won the Adolph Rupp Trophy in 2010.
The 6-foot-10, 220-pounder will be presented with the award at the USBWA’s annual College Basketball Awards Breakfast on March 30 at the Final Four.
“It means a lot to me to win this award,” Davis said. “To win the award is very touching and a big accomplishment, but all the thanks goes to my team, because without them I wouldn’t have received these awards.
“The recognition is nice, but I want to win the biggest award of them all and that’s the national championship. I have to stay humble and keep working.”
Davis has collected a lot of hardware in recent weeks after one of the best seasons by a freshman in college basketball history. Among the major awards he’s won, he’s been named the Wayman Tisdale Award winner (USBWA freshman of the year), SEC Player of the Year (coaches and Associated Press), and national player of the Year by Sporting News and CBS Sports.
The Chicago native is averaging a team-high 14.3 points and 10.1 rebounds while leading UK to its third straight Sweet 16. He has started all 36 games this season while shooting 63.6 percent from the field, third in the nation.
Davis leads the country in blocked shots with 166 and has already set the program’s new single-season blocks mark as well as the SEC’s single-season freshman record. With five more blocks, he’ll break Jarvis Varnado’s single-season SEC record of 170.
He has recorded 18 double-doubles this year, the second-highest total in a single season by a UK freshman.
The Oscar Robertson Trophy is voted on by the entire membership of the association, which consists of more than 900 journalists. It is the nation’s oldest award and the only one named after a former player. The legendary Oscar Robertson was the USBWA’s first player of the year in 1959. The USBWA renamed its player of the year award the Oscar Robertson Trophy in 1998.
Fans can attend the College Basketball Awards Breakfast at the New Orleans Marriott by purchasing tickets at usbwa.com or by calling (504) 324-4242. Tickets are $75 apiece or $750 for a table of 10.
Davis also Naismith finalist
Davis is also in the running for the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s national player of the year award as one of four finalists for the Naismith Trophy.
The other three finalists for the award are Kansas junior Thomas Robinson, Michigan State senior Draymond Green and Creighton sophomore Doug McDermott.
Fans have a say in the Naismith Trophy winner. They can text their votes for the player of their choice by texting VOTE to 34763. Fans will be eligible to cast their vote for the winner until 11:59 p.m. ET on March 31.
The finalists were voted on by the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s National Voting Academy, comprised of leading basketball journalists, coaches and administrators from around the country. The academy based its criteria on player performances this season.
The winner will be announced at the National Association of Basketball Coaches Guardians of the Game award program April 1 during the Final Four in New Orleans.