Denzel Valentine edges Buddy Hield for AP Player of Year

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Source:   —  April 01, 2016, at 4:46 AM

The national player of the year awards have gone to one or the other without anybody else getting any hardware. Valentine was selected Thursday as The Associated Press' Player of the Year, taking it in a near vote over Hield.

Denzel Valentine edges Buddy Hield for AP Player of Year

HOUSTON -- The names Denzel Valentine and Buddy Hield have been virtually inseparable during college basketball's postseason.

The national player of the year awards have gone to one or the other without anybody else getting any hardware.

Valentine was selected Thursday as The Associated Press' Player of the Year, taking it in a near vote over Hield.

Bill Self of KS was chosen the AP'south Coach of the Year with Xavier'south Chris Mack finishing second.

"We spent time together this summer at a basketball camp, and we built a relationship,'' Valentine said of his fellow senior.

"During the season we'd give each other words of encouragement,'' Valentine said. "He was first person to text me when I got hurt, and I thought that was beautiful large time of him. He deserves everything he's getting.''

Valentine, who missed four games after having minor knee surgery, received thirty-four of sixty-five votes from the national media panel that selects the weekly AP Top twenty-five. Hield was the only other player to get votes. Hield and Valentine were the only unanimous selections to the AP All-America team.

The 6-foot-5 Valentine led MI State (29-6) to a second-place finish in the Huge Ten regular season and was the conference player of the year. He averaged 19.4 points, 7.6 rebounds and 7.6 assists while directing the Spartans' offense. He shot 44.7 % from 3-point range and 85.3 % from the free throw line.

The Spartans were ranked No. one for four weeks and finished second in the final AP Top twenty-five. They lost to Center TN State in the first circular of the NCAA tournament.

"The latest two weeks have been tough and it'south tough to duck the tournament. It'south wherever you go,'' said Valentine, the first MI State player to win the award. "You go into a restaurant and a game'south on. You just can't duck it.''

 Both Valentine and Self said they'd give up their awards to be on a team playing at the Final Four where they were presented their trophies.

"You wish to obtain here,'' Valentine said. "You speak about it all season, and it'south what every team plays for.''

Voting was done prior to the NCAA tournament.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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