Michigan State’s Denzel Valentine was named The Associated Press men’s basketball player of the year and Kansas’ Bill Self was named the men’s basketball coach of the year on Thursday.
Valentine, who received 34 of 65 votes from the same national panel that votes in the weekly rankings, is the first Spartans player to win the award. He led Michigan State to a second-place finish in the Big Ten regular season and was the conference player of the year. He averaged 19.4 points, 7.6 rebounds and 7.6 assists while directing the Spartans’ offense and shot 44.7 percent from 3-point range and 85.3 percent from the free throw line.
He edged out Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield by three votes. Valentine and Hield were the only two players to receive votes.
Self, who was also the AP’s coach of the year in 2009, received 21 votes. The Jayhawks spent a total of five weeks at No. 1 this season and won the Big 12 again to move within one of UCLA’s record for consecutive titles.
Xavier’s Chris Mack was second with 15 votes and Oregon’s Dana Altman received 13 votes.
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