Sports

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. -- Duke’s Zion Williamson swept a pair of national awards Friday, being named both Associated Press and United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) National Player of the Year.

The announcements were made at joint press conferences Friday evening at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, home to the 2019 Final Four, with Williamson and his family in attendance.

By claiming the AP Player of the Year in a landslide, garnering 59 of the 64 votes, Williamson becomes only the third freshman to receive the honor in its 58-year history. The others were Kentucky’s Anthony Davis in 2012 and Texas’ Kevin Durant in 2007.

Williamson is the seventh Duke player to receive the AP honor – the most in history – two more than UCLA. Ohio State has had four winners, while North Carolina and Virginia each have three. Previous winners from Duke were Art Heyman (1963), Christian Laettner (1992), Elton Brand (1999), Shane Battier (2001), Jason Williams (2002) and J.J. Redick (2006).

Taking home the Oscar Robertson Trophy as the USBWA Player of the Year, Williamson is the eighth Blue Devil to have his name etched on the trophy and first since Redick in 2006. The trophy’s namesake, “The Big O,” was on hand Friday, and will formally present Williamson the trophy on Monday, April 15 at the College Basketball Awards Dinner at the Missouri Athletic Club in St. Louis.

The 6-7 forward from Spartanburg, S.C., was the nation's only player to average at least 20 points and shoot at least 65 percent from the field this season. He was selected to the first team of the USBWA's All-America Team, and also won the USBWA's Wayman Tisdale Award as the National Freshman Player of the Year.

Public tickets for the dinner are on sale at collegebasketballawards.eventbrite.com. Tickets are $150 per person and include dinner, drinks and parking in the MAC garage. Sponsorship opportunities are available by contacting Jim Wilson at the MAC at 314-539-4488.

Williamson led Duke to the final AP No. 1 ranking, the program’s 21st ACC Championship and 22nd Elite Eight appearance. The Blue Devils finish 32-6, with Williamson and classmate RJ Barrett each leading the ACC at 22.6 points per game, becoming the first freshman teammates in NCAA history to each average 20 points in a season.

Williamson is a finalist for two National Player of the Year Awards still to be announced – the Citizen Naismith Trophy and the John R. Wooden Award. The Naismith Trophy winner is announced Sunday night in Minneapolis, and the Wooden is handed out next Friday in Los Angeles, where Barrett is also a finalist.

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