Arizona’s Sean Elliott, the only repeat All-American this season, was named Associated Press college basketball player of the year today, and Indiana Coach Bob Knight was named coach of the year.
Elliott, a 6-foot, 8-inch senior forward and the all-time leading scorer in Pacific-10 history, received 288 of 879 votes in the nationwide balloting of sports writers and broadcasters conducted before the NCAA tournament.
Danny Ferry, who led Duke to its third Final Four in four years, was second with 208 votes, followed by Louisiana State freshman Chris Jackson with 120, Oklahoma’s Stacey King with 96 and Syracuse’s Sherman Douglas with 53.
Ferry improved one position from last year’s voting, and Elliott jumped from sixth to first. Jackson’s finish was the highest ever by a freshman.
Elliott averaged 22.3 points, 7.2 rebounds and 4.1 assists and was the man the top-ranked Wildcats went to throughout the season as they attempted to repeat last year’s Final Four appearance. The Wildcats, 29-4, were eliminated in the third round by Nevada-Las Vegas.
Elliott passed UCLA’s Lew Alcindor, now Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, as the Pac-10’s all-time leading scorer, although Elliott benefited from more games, courtesy of freshman eligibility and conference expansion from eight teams. The Tucson native finished with 2,555 points, surpassing Alcindor’s mark of 2,325, which stood since 1969. Arizona went 105-28 in Elliott’s four years.
Elliott, considered to have the best first step in college basketball, has been projected as a guard in the NBA and is expected to be a lottery selection in the June draft.
Knight, whose Indiana team appeared at one time this year to be on its way to his worst season at the school, was honored as coach of the year after the Hoosiers finished 27-8 and won a record 10th Big 10 championship.
Knight’s team was 3-4 at the start of the season and had allowed more than 100 points in three of the losses--two more times than his Indiana teams had in his previous 17 years.
He changed to a three-guard offense, and the Hoosiers won 24 of their last 28.
Third Such Award
It was Knight’s third AP coach of the year award, second only to John Wooden’s five at UCLA. Knight won the award in 1975 and 1976.
Knight received 445 1/2 of 878 votes in the poll of sportswriters and broadcasters. P. J. Carlesimo, whose Seton Hall team eliminated Indiana in the West Regional semifinals on the way to a Final Four berth, was second with 107 votes, followed by Lute Olson of Arizona with 84, Dale Brown of Louisiana State with 62 and Rick Majerus of Ball State with 46.
With only one returning starter, Knight’s 1988-89 team was tabbed for a second-division finish in the conference.