University of Kentucky freshman Anthony Davis was chosen the Associated Press men’s college basketball Player of the Year, while the University of Missouri’s Frank Haith took the top coaching honor.
Davis, 19, received 43 votes from the 65-member panel of media members who regularly cover the sport, the news agency said today. He is the first Wildcat and second freshman to win the award, which began in 1961.
Haith, 46, was named Coach of the Year after receiving 21 votes from the same panel, which submitted ballots on both awards before the National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament began this month. The Tigers (30-5) reached the 30-win plateau for the second time, won the Big 12 tournament title and finished the season ranked No. 3 in the AP Top 25.
Davis averaged 14.3 points, 10.1 rebounds and 4.6 blocks per game. The Southeastern Conference’s Player, Freshman and Defensive Player of the Year, he joins current Oklahoma City Thunder All-Star forward Kevin Durant as winners of the national award in their first college season. Durant won in 2007 at the University of Texas.
In his first year at Missouri, Haith won a school-record 14 Big 12 games and guided the Tigers to their second conference tournament title, according to the school’s athletics page. He is the first Missouri coach to win the AP award since Norm Stewart in 1994.
Kentucky plays state-rival University of Louisville tomorrow in the NCAA tournament national semifinals. Missouri, seeded No. 2 in the West Region, lost in the Round of 64 to Norfolk State.
University of Kansas forward Thomas Robinson finished second to Davis with 20 votes, followed by Michigan State University forward Draymond Green, with two. Kentucky’s John Calipari and Michigan State’s Tom Izzo tied for second in the coaches’ balloting with 10 votes apiece.
Jimmer Fredette of Brigham Young University won the player award last year, with Mike Brey of Notre Dame receiving the coaching award.