US basketball

One of a kind: Spurs’ star Wembanyama rolls to unanimous Rookie of the Year win


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One of a kind: Spurs’ star Wembanyama rolls to unanimous Rookie of the Year win

ONE OF ONE. San Antonio Spurs forward Victor Wembanyama and teammates react after a victory over the Denver Nuggets at Frost Bank Center.

USA TODAY Sports/ Reuters

Uber-hyped young star Victor Wembanyama thrives excellently in the NBA spotlight, winning Rookie of the Year with a unanimous 99-of-99 first-place votes

San Antonio Spurs center Victor Wembanyama was voted NBA Rookie of the Year in a unanimous decision on Monday (Tuesday, May 7, Manila time).

The French star received all 99 first-place votes from a media panel voting on the award, joining Ralph Sampson, David Robinson, Blake Griffin, Damian Lillard and Karl-Anthony Towns as unanimous winners of the award.

Oklahoma City Thunder center Chet Holmgren was a strong runner-up, receiving 98 of a possible 99 second-place votes.

“My goals were always to help my team as best as I could and get better as the year went on,” Wembanyama said in an interview on TNT’s playoff pregame show. “I knew in order to do this I had to be individually good on the court and dominant. So, it was a huge thing for me and a big thing to get. It’s always been really important and I’m glad it’s finally official.”

Wembanyama lived up to the hype surrounding him as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 draft. He averaged 21.4 points, 10.6 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 3.6 blocked shots and 1.2 steals in 71 games. His 254 total blocks led the league.

Wembanyama led all NBA rookies in points, rebounds and blocks along with double-doubles (43) and triple-doubles (two). He became the youngest player in league history to post a 5×5 when he had 27 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists, five blocks and five steals against the Los Angeles Lakers on Feb. 23.

Wembanyama became the first player in NBA history to tally 1,500 points, 700 rebounds, 250 assists, 250 blocked shots and 100 3-pointers in a season.

He is the first player from France to win the award and third member of the Spurs, joining franchise legends Robinson and Tim Duncan.

Wembanyama praised the Spurs and the support staff looking out for him as he moved from France to join the franchise.

“With no contest, it’s the best country in the world for an athlete,” Wembanyama said. “The culture, everything, the infrastructure, it’s made for us to thrive. I’m really in a bubble. I know I’m living a very privileged life as an NBA player and there’s a lot of people taking care of me every day. This award is also for them.”

Charlotte’s Brandon Miller (86 total points, including one second-place vote), Miami’s Jaime Jaquez Jr. (10 points), Golden State’s Brandin Podziemski (four points) and Dallas’ Dereck Lively II (one point) also received votes. –

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