Carter wins inaugural Naismith Defensive Player of the Year Award

AP PhotoWest Virginia point guard Jevon Carter (2) was named a second-team AP All-American on Tuesday.

Sunday was quite the day for Jevon Carter.

The Atlanta Tipoff Club announced that the West Virginia University senior is the first recipient of the newly-created Naismith Defensive Player of the Year Award.

Carter helped lead the Mountaineers to 105 wins and four NCAA Tournaments during his career, including three NCAA Sweet 16s. He holds the school record for season steals (112), career steals (330) and season assists (246). The guard from Maywood, Ill., also won Big 12 Conference Defensive Player of the Year for the second year in a row, becoming the fourth Big 12 player (first guard) to win the awards twice. 

The 6-foot-2 guard became the first major college player and just the fifth Division I player all time to have more than 1,500 points, 500 rebounds, 500 assists and 300 steals in a career.

“Congratulations to Jevon, truly one the best of the best on the defensive end of the court,” said Phil Sanchez, sport manager, professional sales, Bona US. “Bona is thrilled to be part of this prestigious Naismith Award that celebrates hard work and talent.”

“Jevon has enjoyed an amazing college career, and his defense prowess illustrates why he is incredibly deserving of this award,” said Eric Oberman, executive director of the Atlanta Tipoff Club.

“I’ve always been a hard worker on and off the court, and it just shows that hard work pays off on the court and in the classroom,” Carter said. “I’m proud that I stayed on course and kept focused on my goals through college on and off the court. I’m thankful for being blessed to win the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year award and having the opportunity to attend West Virginia University.”

Later Sunday, Carter was one of four people honored by the National Association of Basketball Coaches at its annual NABC Guardians of the Game awards show at the Lila Cockrell Theater in San Antonio.

Villanova University’s Jalen Brunson took top honors as the NABC Player of the Year while University of Virginia head coach Tony Bennett was named the NABC Division I Coach of the Year. Carter of West Virginia University earned the NABC Defensive Player of the Year Award for the second straight season and Duke University’s Marvin Bagley III took home a pair of awards as the NABC Freshman of the Year and the Pete Newell Big Man of the Year.

2018 NABC Defensive Player of the Year – Jevon Carter, West Virginia

Carter captured the NABC Defensive Player of the Year award for the second straight season. A NABC Coaches’ All-America third team selection, the senior guard from Maywood, Ill., he was the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year for the second year and a unanimous All Big 12 first team selection.

The 6-2, 205-pound guard is the fifth Division I player to score more than 1,500 points, 500 rebounds, 500 assists and 300 steals in a career. He holds the WVU record for steals in a season (112) and career (330) as well as assist in a season (246). This season Carter was the only player in the country to average 17 points, six assists and three steals per game.

He was the CoSIDA Academic All-American of the Year for men’s basketball and earned Academic All-Big 12 first-team honors three years in a row.

2018 NABC Player of the Year – Jalen Brunson, Villanova

A consensus first team All-America, Brunson led the Wildcats in scoring (19.2 ppg) and assists (176) while shooting 53 percent from the floor, 81 percent from the free throw line and 41 percent of his three-point attempts. He had a season-high 31 points four times this season including road games at Temple, Butler and Marquette and against Providence in the Big East tournament at Madison Square Garden.

The junior guard scored 18 points with two rebounds and six assists in Saturday’s 95-79 NCAA semifinal win over Kansas. Brunson will lead the Wildcats, with a 35-4 won-lost record, when they face off with Michigan on Monday night in the NCAA championship game at the Alamodome in San Antonio.

2018 NABC Coach of the Year – Tony Bennett, Virginia

After leading the University of Virginia to the ACC regular-season title, ACC Tournament championship, school-record 31 wins and first No. 1 ranking since 1982, Tony Bennett has been selected as the 2018 NABC Division I Coach of the Year by the National Association of Basketball Coaches.

This season, Virginia (31-3) was picked sixth in the ACC in the preseason and was unranked in the national preseason polls. But under Bennett, the Cavaliers nearly swept their conference schedule (17-1) while earning a third outright ACC regular-season title in the last five seasons and third ACC Tournament title in school history. Bennett guided UVA to its first No. 1 ranking since 1982 and the Cavaliers became only the fourth team in the Top-25 era (1990-present) to earn a No. 1 ranking after being unranked in the preseason (Kansas, 1990; Syracuse, 2010; and Baylor, 2017).

Bennett is 219-86 (.718) in nine seasons at Virginia and 288-119 (.708) in 12 seasons overall. He has guided the Cavaliers to a school-best seven straight 20-win seasons and five straight NCAA Tournament appearances. Bennett has recorded a school-record six straight seasons with 23-or-more wins, as well as a school-record six straight seasons with 11 or more ACC wins.

This is the first NABC Coach of the Year honor for Bennett.

2018 NABC Freshman of the Year and 2018 Pete Newell Big Man of the Year – Marvin Bagley III, Duke

A consensus first-team All-America, Bagley was a complete player for the Blue Devils this season, averaging 21 points per game and 11.1 rebounds with 29 blocks, 27 steals and 50 assists.

He became just the second player in the 65-year history of the Atlantic Coast Conference to earn player of the year and rookie of the year honors. The 6-11, 245-pound freshman forward from Phoenix, Arizona led Duke to the NCAA Elite Eight and a 29-8 won-lost record. He scored 16 points with 10 rebounds in Duke’s season-ending overtime loss to Kansas.

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