In the storied history of Kentucky basketball, no player had ever been considered the nation’s best for a season.
Freshman Anthony Davis continued his run of national player of the year awards on Friday by accepting the Associated Press honor.
He beat Kansas’ Thomas Robinson for the honor. Davis received 43 votes, Robinson 20 and Michigan State’s Draymond Green two. The voting occurred before the NCAA Tournament began.
Davis, whose Wildcats take on Louisville in a national semifinal on Saturday, becomes the second freshman to win the honor. Texas’ Kevin Durant won the 2007 AP award.
Kentucky has won seven NCAA championships and produced a slew of excellent players. Some, like Ralph Beard, Alex Groza and Bill Spivey played before national players of the year were identified.
Star players like Kyle Macy, Kenny Walker, Jamal Mashburn, Ron Mercer, Tayshaun Price and John Wall played in seasons when someone else was deemed a little better.
Not this year.
The 6-10 forward from Chicago had already been named Southeastern Conference player, freshman and defensive player of the year for a season that has produced averages of 14.3 points, 10.0 rebounds and 4.6 blocks while shooting 64.2 percent.
He was named national player of the year by Sporting News and earned the Rupp Trophy as the nation’s top player.
Robinson, who averages 17.7 points and 11.8 rebounds, was named national player of the year by ESPN.com. His Jayhawks meet Ohio State in a national semifinal on Saturday.
Among national player of the year awards yet to be announced: the Wooden Award, Naismith Award and Basketball Times player of the year.
The major All-America teams have been announced with a consensus first team of Davis, Robinson, Green, Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger and Creighton’s Doug McDermott.
Missouri’s Marcus Denmon was a consensus second-team All-America.