Oregon Ducks guard Chris Duarte wins AP Pac-12 Player of the Year


One year ago, a senior Oregon Ducks guard was named the Pac-12 Player of the Year after leading his team to a regular-season Pac-12 Championship.

Now, history has repeated itself with Chris Duarte following in Payton Pritchard's footsteps, with him being named the 2020-21 Pac-12 Player of the Year as voted on by the Associated Press. 

The award given out by the conference went to Evan Mobley of USC. 

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Duarte joins Joe Young (2014-15), Dillon Brooks (2016-17), and Payton Pritchard (2019-20) as Oregon Ducks to have won the award during Dana Altman's tenure in Eugene. He's the 7th player in program history to win it, joining the previously mentioned three as well as Ron Lee (1975-76), Terrell Brandon (1990-91), and Luke Ridnour (2002-03). 

Previously this season, Duarte has been named Pac-12 Player of the Week (twice), named a Third-Team All-American by Jon Rothstein of College Hoops Today and a finalist for the Jerry West Shooting Guard of the Year. 

The 6'6" guard has raised his draft stock to the late-first round, as evidenced by his 17.3 points per game, good for fifth in the conference. Duarte finished second in the league in steals per game at 1.9 and added 19 blocks this season in 22 games.

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After winning the conference for the second-consecutive season, Dana Altman told the media he believes Duarte deserves to win the award.

"There is a lot of good players in the league and obviously I am very biased, but what he has done for our team through the COVID and through the injuries, he's been the one consistent," said Altman. 

"Every coach has great feelings for their players, I think Chris should win it."

Next up, Oregon will turn its focus to the 2021 Pac-12 Tournament. The Ducks will be the No. 1 seed in the tournament and will play the winner of No. 8 Arizona State and No. 9 Washington State on Thursday, March 11 at 11:30 a.m. on Pac-12 Network.