March 21, 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Rick Leddy, NABC
LONGHORNS' FRESHMAN DURANT NAMED
NABC DIVISION I PLAYER OF THE YEAR
KANSAS CITY, MO. (March 21, 2007) - University of Texas freshman Kevin Durant has been selected as the Division I Player of the Year by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC).
The 6-9 guard/forward from Suitland, Md., is the first freshman to win the NABC Player of the Year award.
Durant will receive his award on Sunday, April 1, at the annual NABC Awards Show presented by AT & T at the Sydney Marcus Auditorium at the Georgia World Congress Center at 6 p.m.
Durant made a meteoric entrance into college basketball this season, helping Coach Rick Barnes' Longhorns to a 25-10 record. He led Texas in scoring (25.8 ppg) and rebounding (11.1 rpg) this season and ranks fourth in both categories nationally. He also averaged 35.9 minutes per game, hit on 47 percent of his field goal attempts, 40 percent from three-point range and 82 percent of his free throws. Durant registered 20 double-doubles this season and set UT and Big 12 records with eleven 30-point performances.
In five postseason games, three in the Big 12 tournament and two in the NCAA championships, the Big 12 Player and Freshman of the Year averaged 28.5 points and 9.6 rebounds with 12 blocks and 12 steals.
A member of the NABC All-America first team, Durant has also been named National Player of the Year by SI.com, ESPN.com and the Sporting News. He is one of five finalists for the Oscar Robertson Trophy (USBWA Player of the Year) and one of four finalists for the Naismith Award.
WINONA STATE'S JOHN SMITH NAMED
NABC DIVISION II PLAYER OF THE YEAR
KANSAS CITY, MO. (March 20, 2007) - Junior John Smith of unbeaten Winona (Minn.) State University has been named the Division II Player of the Year by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC).
Smith will receive his award on Sunday, April 1, at the annual NABC Awards Show presented by AT & T at the Sydney Marcus Auditorium at the Georgia World Congress Center at 6 p.m.
Smith, a 6-8 forward, is the leading scorer and rebounder for the Warriors, the defending NCAA Division II champion. He averages 16.9 points per game and 9.8 rebounds with 94 blocked shots, 56 steals and 74 assists.
Smith has been a key figure for Coach Mike Leaf as the Warriors take a 55-game win streak into a NCAA Division II quarterfinal game Wednesday with unbeaten Bentley College (32-0) at Springfield, Mass. He was named the Division II Player of the Year by the Basketball Times and was a member of the NABC and Daktronics All-America teams.
Smith, who has scored just more than 1,500 points, is closing in on 1,000 rebounds for the Warriors, who have a 33-0 record this season. He has also registered more than 300 blocks in his three seasons.
ANDREW OLSON OF AMHERST AND GUILFORD'S BEN STRONG NAMED NABC DIVISION III CO-PLAYERS OF THE YEAR
KANSAS CITY, MO. (March 20, 2007) - Juniors Andrew Olson of Amherst (Mass.) College and Ben Strong of Guilford (N.C.) Guilford College have been named the Division III Co Players of the Year by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC).
Olson and Strong will receive their awards on Sunday, April 1, at the annual NABC Awards Show presented by AT & T at the Sydney Marcus Auditorium at the Georgia World Congress Center at 6 p.m.
Olson, a 5-10 guard, led the Lord Jeffs in scoring in three of their final four games as Amherst won the NCAA Division III championship in Salem, Va. In the NCAA semifinal and final game, the junior from San Diego, Calif., averaged 15 points, 3.5 rebounds, seven assists and 39.5 minutes as Amherst topped The College of Wooster in the semifinal and defending national champion Virginia Wesleyan in the championship game.
Over the course of the season, Olson and his teammates had a 30-2 won-lost record for Coach Dave Hixon, losing the two contests by a combined four points. The Lord Jeffs won their first 23 games this season and outscored their opponents by 20.6 points per game.
Strong paced Coach Tom Palombo's Quakers to a 24-5 season while leading Guilford in scoring (25.4), rebounding (11.2) and blocks (72). The 6-11 junior from Chapel Hill, N.C., also hit on 59 percent of his field goal attempts and 80 percent of his free throw attempts.
Strong scored an NCAA Division III tournament record 59 points, including the winning free throw with 14 seconds left in the third overtime of Guilford's 129-128 win over Lincoln (Pa.) University. His performance stands second to Austin Carr's 61-point effort for Notre Dame against Ohio University in 1970 in NCAA men's basketball championships history.
About the National Association of Basketball Coaches
Located in Kansas City, MO, the NABC was founded in 1927 by Phog Allen, the legendary basketball coach at the University of Kansas. Allen, a student of James Naismith, the inventor of basketball, organized coaches into this collective group to serve as Guardians of the Game. The NABC currently claims nearly 5,000 members consisting primarily of university and college men's basketball coaches. All members of the NABC are expected to uphold the core values of being a Guardian of the Game by bringing attention to the positive aspects of the sport of basketball and the role coaches play in the academic and athletic lives of today's student-athletes. The four core values of being a Guardian of the Game are advocacy, leadership, service and education. Additional information about the NABC, its programs and membership, can be found at www.nabc.com.