Brand Wins John Wooden Award
Duke University forward Elton Brand was named the winner of the 1999 John R. Wooden Award as the nation's top college basketball player.
Brand, a 6-foot-9 sophomore, beat out forwards Richard Hamilton of national champion Connecticut and Wally Szczerbiak of Miami University of Ohio and guards Mateen Cleaves of Michigan State and Andre Miller of the University of Utah for the 23rd annual award.
Brand averaged 17.7 points, 9.8 rebounds, 2.2 blocks a game and shot 62 percent from the floor this season in helping Duke to a second-place finish in the NCAA tournament. He had 15 points and 13 rebounds in the Blue Devils' 77-74 loss to Connecticut in Monday's championship game.
"It's really an honor and privilege to be considered for this award," Brand said in accepting the honor at the Los Angeles Athletic Club. "To win it is a great feat."
Brand was named the Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year in leading Duke to a 37-2 overall mark and the first 16-0 record in ACC history.
The first sophomore to win the award, he joins Christian Laettner in 1992 as the only Duke players to capture the honor.
Brand now faces a decision whether to return to school or enter the National Basketball Association draft, where many feel he would be one of the top picks. Duke has never lost a star player to the draft as an early entry.
If he returns to Duke, Brand could become just the second player to win the Wooden award twice. Virginia's Ralph Sampson captured the honor in 1982 and 1983.
"It would be a great honor to go for a second chance at the award," Brand said when asked about his future.
Voting for the award is conducted by a nationwide panel of sportswriters, editors and broadcasters. North Carolina forward Antawn Jamison was the 1998 winner. Jamison was selected third overall in last year's draft by the Toronto Raptors, who immediately traded him to the Golden State Warriors.
©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed
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