NEW ORLEANS—Perhaps Anthony Davis is being honored with award after award because he’s the only player with arms big enough to hold them all.
The star freshman was bestowed another handful of honors Friday, including a pair of standard-fare National Player of the Year awards and an award recognizing his cooperation with the media.
Davis was named the United States Basketball Writers Association’s Player of the Year at a Friday breakfast and, as such, was awarded the Oscar Robertson Trophy by its namesake legend.
The 6-10 freshman went straight from the breakfast to an announcement honoring him as the Associated Press’ Player of the Year. He became only the second freshman to win the award in its 52-year history; 2007 winner Kevin Durant was the first.
He’s also the first Kentucky player ever to earn the top individual award voted on by the same voters as that season’s AP top 25.
“I’m surprised. You had a lot of great basketball players that came from Kentucky,” Davis said. “Hopefully I’m starting a trend, hopefully more Kentucky players down the line get to win this award. It’s great, just (getting) it for the school that I go to. Like I said, it’s all thanks to my teammates and my coaches. Without any of them, any of this wouldn’t be possible.”
Six major awards are given to name the best player in the country: AP, USBWA, the Adolph Rupp Trophy, the John R. Wooden Award, the National Association of Basketball Coaches award, and the Naismith College Player of the Year. Davis was named the AP, USBWA and Rupp winners already, and the other three awards will be announced will be announced this weekend in New Orleans.
The Naismith and Wooden awards are considered the sport’s top prizes. If recent precedent holds true, Davis seems to be a safe bet to win both. Only once since 1996 has a player won the AP’s award but not both the Naismith and Wooden awards.
Davis was also named the winner of the inaugural Chuck Hayes Award for Media Cooperation, an award presented by beat reporters covering UK men’s basketball to honor the player that best exemplifies the spirit of cooperation with the media.
By the time Davis heads back to Lexington, he could be one of the most decorated all-time freshmen in college basketball’s history. He’s blocked 175 shots this season, leaving him seven away from tying the NCAA’s freshman record for blocks in a season.
“Yeah, there’s a lot of awards yesterday and today, this morning,” Davis said Friday. “It’s a great feeling, a chance to get some awards, especially as a freshman. I’ve just been working hard and now it’s all rewarding.”
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