Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
He is just the third freshman to win the award, joining Davis and Texas’ Kevin Durant (2007). The Spartanburg, S.C., native edged out three other finalists for this year’s trophy — juniors Rui Hachimura (Gonzaga) and Grant Williams (Tennessee) and sophomore Ja Morant (Murray State).
“I want to thank the Citizen Naismith committee for selecting me as the Player of the Year,” said Williamson in a statement. “It is truly an honor to receive this, and join such an elite list of former Blue Devils to have also won the award. 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.”
Williamson is the eighth Blue Devil to claim the top honor, giving Duke the most trophy wins by any program. J.J. Redick (2006) was the school’s most recent honoree, with the list of Blue Devils also including Jason Williams (2002), Shane Battier (2001), Elton Brand (1999), Christian Laettner (1992), Danny Ferry (1989) and Johnny Dawkins (1986).
Laettner, Virginia’s Ralph Sampson and UCLA’s Bill Walton were among the former Naismith winners on hand Sunday to help present Williamson his trophy.
“Zion is absolutely deserving of this year’s Citizen Naismith Trophy,” said Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski. “He handled himself with such class and humility this season, especially given what he accomplished, both individually and with his team. Zion is a great representative of the game, and is a pleasure to coach. Duke has a long history of Naismith winners, and Zion certainly belongs in that elite company.”
A consensus first-team All-American and the AP, USBWA and NABC Player of the Year, the ACC Player of the Year and the ACC Tournament Most Valuable Player, Williamson was a force on both ends of the floor. He finishing tied for the ACC lead in scoring with 22.6 ppg, third in rebounding (8.9 rpg), second in steals (2.1) and fifth in blocks (1.8). His .680 field goal percentage led the ACC and is second nationally.
(Via Duke release)
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.