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Vol. 55, No. 4 • May 2018 • .pdf version
Brunson, Bennett, Young claim top men's honors
The U.S. Basketball Writers Association's top player (Villanova's Jalen Brunson), freshman (Oklahoma's Trae Young) and coach (Virginia's Tony Bennett) were honored at the College Basketball Awards Dinner on April 9 at the Missouri Athletic Club in St. Louis.
Brunson was awarded the Oscar Robertson Trophy, Bennett the Henry Iba Award and Young the Wayman Tisdale Award. Former Missouri and Hall of Fame coach Norm Stewart and retired referee Ed Hightower each receivee lifetime achievement awards.
Brunson was a consensus All-American who led the Wildcats to their second national championship in three years.
"Jalen Brunson is the most essential force on a terrific Villanova team, but a team player and dynamic individual talent," said USBWA President Vahé Gregorian of the Kansas City Star. "The USBWA is delighted to recognize him as our player of the year."
Brunson averaged 19.1 points and 4.8 assists while shooting 52.7 percent from the field and 41.4 from 3-point range. He was also a starter on Villanova's 2016 national championship as a freshman.
Bennett became just the second coach to be named the USBWA's national coach of the year, joining UCLA legend John Wooden (who won the award six times). Bennett also won the award while at Washington State in 2006-07 and for the first time at Virginia in 2014-15.
Bennett guided the Cavaliers to a 28-2 overall record during the regular season, and they went 17-1 in the Atlantic Coast Conference to win their third outright regular-season title in five seasons by four games.
They spent the final four weeks of the season as the nation's No. 1-ranked team despite being unranked when they entered the season. They earned the school's first No. 1 ranking since 1982.
Young became the first player to lead the nation in points (27.5) and assists (8.9). He had four 40-point games, nine 30-point contests and recorded 12 double- doubles.
He became just the second player in 20 seasons to score 800 points in a regular season (joining Duke's J.J. Redick in 2005-06) and the second player in NCAA history to record 800 points and 250 assists in a season, along with Oakland's Kai Felder in 2015-16.
Young first drew national attention this season with a 43-point game against Oregon. He shortly followed that with a 26-point, 22-assist game against Northwestern State on Dec. 19, tying an NCAA record for most assists in a game while breaking the school and Big 12 records. He is the fourth player in NCAA history to record 22-or-more assists in a game and the first since Sherman Douglas of Syracuse in 1989. No other freshman has ever recorded 20-or-more assists in a game.
In women's basketball, A'ja Wilson of South Carolina was named the winner of the Ann Meyers Drysdale Award as the national player of the year, Vic Schaefer of Mississippi State earned the coach of the year award and Chennedy Carter of Texas A&M was the freshman of the year.
Wilson, a three-time All-American, averaged 22.6 points and 11.8 rebounds per game. Wilson led the Gamecocks to three Elite Eight performances, as well as the 2017 national title as the Most Outstanding Player.
Schaefer led the Bulldogs to the national championship game for the second season in a row. He was also named the Naismith and WBCA national coach of the year.
The 5-foot-7 Carter led all freshmen with 22.7 points per game and also contributed 4.9 assists per contest.
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