Michigan State's Denzel Valentine Named AP National Player Of The Year Over Oklahoma's Buddy Hield

Michigan State Spartans guard Denzel Valentine has been named the AP National Player of the Year on Thursday, edging out Oklahoma's Buddy Hield by three votes. No other player received a vote.

Valentine becomes the first Michigan State player to ever win the honor, which has been awarded every year since 1961.

Valentine averaged 19.2 points, 7.5 rebounds and 7.8 assists per game, becoming the first college basketball player to post those averages since assists became official in the 1983-84 season. This is the sixth national player of the year honors for Valentine, who has already claimed the award from the National Association of Basketball Coaches, USA Today, Sports Illustrated, NBC Sports and Basketball Times.

He also won Big Ten Player of the Year while leading Michigan State to the Big Ten Tournament championship. However, his run ended when the Spartans were upset by Middle Tennessee in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Hield ranked second in the country averaging 25.4 points per game to go along with 5.7 rebounds and 2.0 assists. He has won the Sporting News and CBS Sports national player of the year honors. Though he was unable to lead Oklahoma to either the Big Ten regular season or tournament title, he does have the Sooners in the Final Four.

The two players are also finalists for the Wooden Award, which is the premier national player of the year award, along with Virginia's Malcolm Brogdon, North Carolina's Brice Johnson, and Kentucky's Tyler Ulis. The winner of the Wooden Award will be handed out on April 8 by the Los Angeles Athletic club.

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Related Topics: Oklahoma Sooners Basketball, Buddy Hield, Big 12 Basketball, NCAA Basketball, Denzel Valentine, College Basketball, Michigan State Spartans Basketball, Big Ten Basketball