Baylor forward Johnathan Motley has been announced as the 2017 Karl Malone Award winner during the ESPN College Basketball Awards in Los Angeles. He became the first major award winner in BU program history. It marks the second straight season the recipient was from the Big 12.
A junior from Houston, Motley was selected from a group of five finalists that also included Arizona’s Lauri Markkanen, Notre Dame’s Bonzie Colson, Purdue’s Caleb Swanigan and UCLA’s TJ Leaf.
The Malone Award is presented annually to the nation’s top power forward. Louisville’s Montrezl Harrell won the inaugural award in 2015, and Iowa State’s Georges Niang picked up the 2016 award.
"Baylor Nation is extremely proud and happy for Johnathan Motley," head coach Scott Drew said. "Karl Malone signifies hard work and dedication, and Johnathan has followed in those footsteps. He's done a tremendous job progressing throughout his Baylor career."
Motley became the first consensus All-American in program history after averaging 17.3 points, 9.9 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.1 blocks in 30.5 minutes per game in 2016-17. He led the Big 12 in rebounding and double-doubles (15), ranked fourth in scoring, fifth in field goal percentage (.521), 12th in blocks and 15th in free throw percentage (.699). His numbers were even better in Big 12 play, when he ranked second in the league in scoring (18.4) and led the conference in rebounding (10.8).
Motley helped Baylor to a 27-8 record and the program’s fourth Sweet 16 appearance in the last eight seasons. The Bears were ranked No. 1 nationally for the first time in program history and earned a school-record fourth consecutive NCAA Tournament berth.