Duke's Zion Williamson named Naismith Player of the Year

Duke star and top NBA prospect Zion Williamson claimed the Naismith Men's Player of the Year award.

Williamson – who is projected to be taken with the number one pick in this year's draft – averaged 22.6 points and 8.9 rebounds while shooting 68 per cent from the field for Duke this season.

The 18-year-old's impact was also felt on the defensive end, as he led Duke in steals (2.2) and blocks (1.8) per game.

Williamson's exploits saw him become the eighth Blue Devils player to win the Naismith Award, and just the third freshman ever.

"I want to thank the Citizen Naismith Trophy committee for selecting me as the Player of the Year. It is truly an honour to receive this and join such an elite list of former Blue Devils to have also won the award," Williamson said in statement.

"There were so many great players who could have won this award this year. I can’t thank my teammates, coaches and family enough for helping me. This is a team award, and it’s an honor for me to accept this on behalf of my brothers."

Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski praised Williamson after he was named the winner. 

"Zion is absolutely deserving of this year's Citizen Naismith Trophy. He handled himself with such class and humility this season, especially given what he accomplished, both individually and with his team," Krzyzewski said.

"Zion is a great representative of the game and is a pleasure to coach. Duke have a long history of Naismith winners, and Zion certainly belongs in that elite company."

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