On Thursday, Michigan State forward Denzel Valentine became the first Spartan in the school’s history to win the Associated Press Men’s College Basketball Player of the Year Award. Not even the school’s most storied alum, Magic Johnson, received that honor.
Valentine received the award alongside Kansas’s Bill Self, who was awarded AP Coach of the Year, at NRG Stadium in Houston, the site of the Final Four.
Valentine posted big numbers this season. He averaged 19.2 points, 7.8 assists and 7.5 rebounds per game, and Michigan State went 29-6.
The Spartans senior received 34 out of 65 total votes and beat stiff competition from fellow First Team All-American and Oklahoma senior Buddy Hield, who had 31 votes.
Hield and the West Regional champion No. 2-seed Sooners will square off against South Regional champion, No.2-seed Villanova in Houston this Saturday.
Valentine and the Spartans took an early exit from this year’s NCAA Tournament, upset by No. 15-seed Middle Tennessee State in the second round. Since then, Valentine has been collecting numerous player-of-the-year awards, including Sports Illustrated, USA Today, NBCSports.com and the National Association of Basketball Coaches.