Sabrina Ionescu isn't the only Duck taking home a National Player of the Year award.
After becoming the Oregon Ducks men's basketball program's first consensus All-American in 80 years, senior guard Payton Pritchard has been chosen as the Lute Olsen National Player of the Year by CollegeInsider.com. The award is given to the nation's best Division I basketball player.
Pritchard became the first Pac-12 player to win the award.
After pondering leaving for the NBA, the Pac-12 Player of the Year decided to return for his senior season in green and yellow and one goal in mind: be the best.
I carry it from last year, this confidence is high and I just wanted to come back this year and... prove a point that I am not only the best point guard in the country but the best player in the country.
Well, one year after returning to school, he's proven just that. Pritchard finished his senior season as one of the nation's elite, averaging 20.8 points, 4.3 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game. The West Linn native is one of just four players nationally who is leading his conference in both scoring and assists and is trying to become the fourth player in conference history to do so, joining Gary Payton (Oregon State, 1989-90), Damon Stoudamire (Arizona, 1994-95) and Jason Terry (Arizona, 1998-99).
Pritchard also became the winningest player in program history earlier this season.
Plus, he got to celebrate a Pac-12 championship with a devoted following at Matthew Knight Arena.
When you win a Pac-12 Championship at home, you have to celebrate. 🎉🎉— NBC Sports Northwest (@NBCSNorthwest) March 8, 2020
Watch the Ducks celebrate their conference title on the floor of Matthew Knight Arena.https://t.co/aMmiMXsr6B #GoDucks pic.twitter.com/XjIBIvGGpc
After the championship-clinching game, Pritchard addressed the crowd and thanked the University of Oregon for granting him "the greatest experience of [his] life."
With a veteran team, one of the nation's best coaches in Dana Altman, and arguably the country's best player in Pritchard, who knows what kind of noise the No. 13 Oregon Ducks could have made in the NCAA Tournament.