Brittney Griner’s season may have ended in the Sweet 16, but the Baylor senior is still capping off her career with more awards.
Griner, who finished her career as the all-time leader in men’s or women’s Division I college basketball history in career blocks (748), won her second consecutive Naismith Women’s Player of the Year Award, according to a release Monday afternoon.
On the season, Griner averaged 23.8 points, 9.4 rebounds and 4.1 blocks for the 34-2 Bears, who were upset by Louisville in Oklahoma City.
Griner beat out Notre Dame’s Skylar Diggins, Delaware’s Elena Delle Donne and Stanford’s Chiney Ogwumike for the honor. She also became the seventh repeat winner of the award.
Griner may go down as the greatest women’s college basketball player ever, and she’s definitely up there in terms of being the most dominant forward/center ever. The Bears were 74-2 over the last two seasons with Griner in the post, including a 40-0 record and the NCAA Women’s National Championship last season.
Griner exits college as the second all-time leading scorer in women’s Division I college basketball history, finishing with 3,269 points, and is the first player in history to amass over 2,000 points and 500 blocks in their career.
The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 10.3 points per game, while shooting 42 percent from three, as a freshman. He, along with Malcolm Hill and Michael Thorne Jr., is one of three returning players who averaged double figures last season.
This could prove to be a make-or-break year for John Groce, who enters his fifth season at the helm. He guided the Illini to an NCAA Tournament in his first season, but hasn’t been back since.
The key for the Illini is health. Abrams gives them experience and leadership, but it won’t be a surprise if there’s some rust in his game after spending the past two seasons on the sideline. Having a healthy Coleman-Lands will help stabilize the backcourt, while Hill, an all-conference caliber forward, and Thorne anchor the frontcourt.
Like Alkins, Jones was a sought-after scorer. The 6-foot-4 two-guard was rated No. 69 overall in the Class of 2016 by Rivals. He picked Indiana over offers from Cal, Cincinnati, Georgetown and more than a dozen other high-major programs.
Jeter, the 6-foot-10, played in a reserve role as a freshman, averaging 1.9 points and 1.9 rebounds per game last season. He will be part of a loaded frontline that includes heralded freshmen Harry Giles and Marques Bolden, as well as redshirt senior Amile Jefferson, who returns to the lineup following a foot injury.
The greatest player in Auburn program history will honored with a statue outside of the team’s home arena.
The university announced that Charles Barkley, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer, will be the fourth athlete to be given a statue, joining Heisman Trophy winners Bo Jackson, Pat Sullivan and Cam Newton.
“It just means a great deal to me,” Barkley said in a statement. “Being a kid from Alabama, going to Auburn. I think everybody knows what Auburn means to me. It’s going to be pretty cool.”
Barkley, currently working as an analyst for TNT, was the SEC Player of the Year in 1984, as well as a second team All-American. He averaged 14.1 points and 9.6 rebounds per game in 84 appearances for the Tigers.