KANSAS CITY – (Staff Report from Official NABC News Release) – The National Association of Basketball Coaches announced its top NCAA Division I award winners for the 2019-20 season, headlined by Dayton’s coach Anthony Grant and his star player, Obi Toppin. The awards were determined by a nationwide vote of NABC-member Division I head coaches.
Grant was selected as the NABC Division I Coach of the Year presented by Wilson, while Toppin was named the NABC Division I Player of the Year powered by ShotTracker.
They are joined by NABC Defensive Player of the Year presented by Marriott Bonvoy Udoka Azubuike of Kansas, NABC Freshman of the Year presented by adidas Vernon Carey Jr. of Duke, and NABC Pete Newell Big Man of the Year Luka Garza of Iowa.
Grant led Dayton to its best season in program history, as the Flyers finished 29-2 overall and won the Atlantic 10 title with a perfect 18-0 league record. UD finished the season on a 20-game winning streak and was ranked No. 3 in the final release of the USA TODAY Sports Coaches’ and AP polls. Grant becomes the first-ever Dayton coach to win NABC Coach of the Year accolades.
Toppin averaged 20 points and 7.5 rebounds per game for Dayton this season and was the only Division I player to average at least 20 points and seven rebounds while shooting over 60-percent from the field. The redshirt sophomore forward’s 63.3-percent shooting led the A10 and ranked fifth nationally, and he led Division I with 107 dunks. Toppin is the first Flyer ever selected as NABC Player of the Year.
Azubuike’s inside presence anchored a Kansas defense that finished second in the nation in adjusted defensive efficiency and third in opponents’ 2-point field goal percentage. The senior center averaged 10.5 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game to go along with 13.7 points, helping lead the Jayhawks to the Big 12 title and the No. 1 ranking in the season’s final polls. He is the second KU player to win NABC Defensive Player of the Year honors, joining Jeff Withey in 2013.
Carey averaged 17.8 points, 8.8 rebounds and 1.6 blocks while shooting 57.7-percent overall, and was the ACC’s only player to rank in the league’s top 10 in each of those four categories. He posted 15 double-doubles while helping guide the Blue Devils to a 25-6 overall record. Carey is the third-straight Duke selection as NABC Freshman of the Year, following Marvin Bagley III in 2018 and Zion Williamson in 2019.
Garza averaged 23.9 points and 9.8 rebounds and shot 54.2-percent from the field this year, numbers that ranked first, third and fourth respectively in the Big Ten. The junior center – who posted 12 20-point, 10-rebound games – became just the third player in Big Ten history to total at least 740 points and 300 rebounds in a single season. Garza is the first Hawkeye ever voted as NABC Pete Newell Big Man of the Year.