Duke’s Wil­liamson is named Nai­smith player of the year

The Buffalo News - - COLLEGE BASKETBALL -

Duke for­ward Zion Wil­liamson con­tin­ued his col­lec­tion of ac­co­lades on Sun­day when he won the 2019 Cit­i­zen Nai­smith Tro­phy as the top col­lege bas­ket­ball in the coun­try, the At­lanta Tipoff Club an­nounced dur­ing a press con­fer­ence in Min­neapo­lis.

Wil­liamson is the third fresh­man to win the honor, join­ing Kevin Du­rant of Texas in 2007 and An­thony Davis of Ken­tucky in 2012.

The other three fi­nal­ists were Gon­zaga ju­nior for­ward Rui Hachimura, Ten­nessee ju­nior for­ward Grant Wil­liams and Mur­ray State sopho­more point guard Ja Mo­rant.

Wil­liamson won the Os­car Robert­son Tro­phy and As­so­ci­ated Press Player of the Year hon­ors on Fri­day. He also was the At­lantic Coast Con­fer­ence Player of the Year. Wil­liamson av­er­aged 22.6 points, 8.9 re­bounds, 2.1 as­sists and 1.8 blocks per game.

Wil­liamson is the eighth Duke player to win the pres­ti­gious award.

“I want to thank the Cit­i­zen Nai­smith Tro­phy com­mit­tee for se­lect­ing me as the Player of the Year. It is truly an honor to re­ceive this and join such an elite list of for­mer Blue Devils to have also won the award,” Wil­liamson said in a state­ment. “There were so many great play­ers who could have won this award this year. I can’t thank my team­mates, coaches and fam­ily enough for help­ing me. This is a team award, and it’s an honor for me to ac­cept this on be­half of my broth­ers.”

Wil­liamson led Duke to a 32-6 record. The Blue Devils ad­vanced to the Elite Eight, where they lost to Michi­gan State.

Ten­nessee coach Rick Barnes was named the win­ner of the Nai­smith Coach of the Year Award af­ter guid­ing the Vol­un­teers to a 31-6 mark, match­ing the school record for vic­to­ries.

Wash­ing­ton se­nior guard Matisse Thy­bulle was named win­ner of the Nai­smith De­fen­sive Player of the Year Award. Thy­bulle posted a Pac-12 record 126 steals and blocked 83 shots this sea­son.

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