NEW ORLEANS – Anthony Davis has broken all sorts of records and barriers this season. On Friday, he established a whole new standard.
Accomplishing a feat that players like Dan Issel, Kenny Walker, Kyle Macy and John Wall never achieved, Davis was named the Associated Press’ college basketball Player of the Year on Friday. It’s the first time a Kentucky player has won the award and only the second time a freshman has done it. Kevin Durant was the first in 2007.
Davis received 43 votes from the 65-member national media panel.
The award is Davis’ fourth major national player of the year award. He’s already won the Oscar Robertson Trophy, Adolph Rupp Award and Basketball Times Player of the Year. He’s one of the leading candidates for the John R. Wooden Award and Naismith Trophy.
“I came a long way with the help of my teammates, my coaches, family, friends and most importantly God,” Davis said earlier Friday when he received the Oscar Robertson Trophy. “Without him, I wouldn’t be able to do this. I’m glad he blessed me with the ability to grow six inches.”
Davis has had one of the most memorable freshman campaigns in national history. He averages a team-leading 14.3 points and 10.1 rebounds, a nation-best 4.6 blocks, all while leading the Wildcats to a 36-2 overall record, their second consecutive Final Four berth, and an undefeated Southeastern Conference regular season and championship.
The 6-foot-10 forward has logged 175 blocks, the most in SEC history. He’s also been the driving force in helping the Wildcats break the NCAA all-time mark with a running total of 326 for the season. Davis is eight blocks shy of breaking the all-time NCAA mark for freshmen.
He recently surpassed DeMarcus Cousins’ freshman record for rebounds in a season with 385 boards. He’s one double-double short of tying Cousins’ freshman double-double record of 20 games.
“Coach (Adolph) Rupp is right, was right in that good palyers win,” John Calipari said. “This whole tournament has good players. We have good players. So do the other teams. But I have the best player in Anthony Davis.”
Earlier in the day Davis collected his hardware for winning the Oscar Robertson Trophy, the U.S. Basketball Writers Association’s player of the year award. You can see a photo gallery of that awards ceremony here.