Davis is the first player from Kentucky to win the award and only the second freshman. He is the first Naismith Trophy winner from the Southeastern Conference since LSU’s Pete Maravich grabbed the award in 1970.
The 6-foot-10 Davis is averaging a team-high 14.4 points, 10.2 rebounds and 4.6 blocked shots per game heading into the national championship against Kansas. Kansas’ Bill Self was named the Naismith Men’s College Basketball Coach of the Year earlier that same day.
Davis did not win the NABC’s overall Player of the Year award but is still the most decorated freshman in college basketball history. Davis was also named winner of the Wooden Award on Saturday and The Associated Press Player of the Year on Friday. Davis also set a Southeastern Conference single-season record and needs three more blocks to break the NCAA freshman record.
“I’m so proud of Anthony. Here’s a guy who’s taken the fourth-most shots on our team and yet he’s the best player in college basketball. He defers to his teammates,” Kentucky head coach John Calipari said in a statement released by the Atlanta Tipoff Club. “He bought into our system and basically said, ‘Tell me how you want me to play.’ He’s been the ultimate team player and I couldn’t be happier for him.”