April 2, 2007
Kevin Durant, the University of Texas multi-talented freshmen, was named the 2007 Naismith Trophy Men's College Player of the Year presented by AT&T, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced. Durant accepted the trophy at the National Association of Basketball Coaches' "Guardians of the Game" Awards Show in Atlanta, site of the NCAA Men's Basketball Final Four.
Durant becomes the first freshman in the history of the award to claim the honor. Of the 38 previous winners, 24 were seniors, eight were juniors and six were sophomores.
The Naismith Trophy is given annually to the men's and women's college players of the year and is the most prestigious national award in college basketball. The other Naismith Trophy finalists were Tyler Hansbrough of North Carolina, Acie Law IV of Texas A&M and Alando Tucker of Wisconsin. Durant also will be honored at the Naismith Awards banquet April 5 in Atlanta.
Durant was selected by the Atlanta Tipoff Club's board of selectors - a collection of leading basketball journalists, coaches and administrators from around the country - and the fans. Through AT&T's wireless text messaging, fans accounted for an unprecedented 25% of the board of selectors' overall vote for the third straight year. The results were certified by the accounting firm of Habif, Arogeti & Wynne, LLP.
"Kevin has enjoyed an incredible season, not only with personal success but in how he helped elevate his team," said Gary Stokan, Atlanta Tipoff Club president. "To think he accomplished everything as a freshman is just all the more impressive."
In his rookie season, the 6-9 swingman became the first freshman to earn National Player of the Year honors from the NABC. The only unanimous choice to The Associated Press All-America first team, Durant also became the first freshman to garner Big 12 Conference Player of the Year accolades. He led the league in scoring (25.8 ppg), rebounding (11.1 rpg) and blocked shots (67). Durant is the only player in the country to rank in the Top 10 nationally in both scoring (fourth) and rebounding (fourth), and he finished second nationally in double-doubles (20). He led the Longhorns to a 25-10 record (12-4 Big 12) and a No. 11 ranking in the final AP poll. Durant set the school and Big 12 single-season scoring mark (903 points) and became just the second freshman in NCAA history to top the 900-point plateau (965 by Chris Jackson, LSU, 1988-89).
"I've said many times this weekend that I firmly believe Kevin was the best player in the country this year," Texas coach Rick Barnes said. "But what I appreciate more about Kevin is that he is the ultimate team player and a genuine person. To see him win the Naismith Trophy is very special, both for Kevin and for our basketball program."
Durant is just the third player from a Big 12 conference school to take home the Naismith Trophy (T.J. Ford, Texas, 2003; Danny Manning, Kansas, 1988).