Tyler Hansbrough might win the national championship, but he was denied a second Naismith Award by Oklahoma's Blake Griffin.
The Atlanta Tipoff Club announced the winner of the college player of the year honor on Sunday. Pittsburgh's DeJuan Blair and Connecticut's Hasheem Thabeet were the other finalists, who were selected by a group of basketball journalists, coaches and administrators.
"I don't really know what to say," Griffin said after accepting the award in Detroit. "This has been an incredible past four days, and the Naismith Award is the perfect way to cap off the trip. I've been blessed to receive tremendous support and education from my parents, my brother and my coaches, and from many others. I thank each and every one of them, and especially my teammates, for everything they've done for me."
Griffin, a 6-foot-10 sophomore, led the nation in rebounding at 14.4 per game. He led the Big 12 in scoring (22.7 ppg), rebounding and field goal percentage (.634). Oklahoma went 30-6 this season and lost to North Carolina in the South regional finals of the NCAA tournament.
Fan voting through text message accounted for 25 percent of the final tally.
"This is a tremendous honor for Blake, and a deserved one," Oklahoma head coach Jeff Capel said. "He was magnificent for us all season and everyone associated with our program is proud of what he's accomplished. Blake has dedicated himself to the game of basketball like no other player I've coached and the results speak for themselves. More impressive than his basketball ability, though, is his life approach and how he carries himself off the court. Blake is a much better person than he is a basketball player."
Griffin earned a number of other awards on Sunday. He was named the State Farm/NABC National Player of the Year and the Pete Newell Big Man of the Year. Earlier he earned the Rupp Trophy (Commonwealth Athletic Club of Kentucky), the Oscar Robertson Trophy (U.S. Basketball Writers Association), the AP Player of the Year Trophy, the Chevrolet Player of the Year award.
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