Former Kentucky Wildcat Karl-Anthony Towns named NBA Rookie of the Year

Former Kentucky standout Karl-Anthony Towns was named NBA Rookie of the Year on Monday.

The Minnesota Timberwolves center became only the fifth unanimous selection in the history of the award. He is the third player coached by John Calipari to be named ROY, joining Tyreke Evans (2010) and Derrick Rose (2009) from Memphis. It marked the first time a UK player has earned the honor.

Towns, the No. 1 pick in last year's draft, averaged 18.3 points, 10.5 points, 2.0 assists and 1.7 blocks per game while ranking 18th in the league in player efficiency ranking (PER). He is the first rookie since Elton Brand in 1999-2000 to post those figures in scoring, rebounding and blocked shots.

He was the NBA Western Conference Rookie of the Month in all six months of the season, only the eighth time a player has accomplished the feat, which placed him among superstars like Lebron James, Tim Duncan and David Robinson.

The Piscataway, N.J., native set Minnesota franchise records for rookie scoring (1,503), rebounds (857), blocks (138) and double-doubles (51). He was one of only six players to appear in all 82 games this season.

He had several highlight moments along the way, including a 21-rebound, nine-assist against Dallas on April 3, marking the first time a rookie had accomplished the feat since Elgin Baylor in 1959. He had a career-high 35 points on Feb. 10 against Toronto, one of four times he topped the 30-point mark this season.

Towns followed teammate Andrew Wiggins as the Rookie of the Year, the first time a franchise has had back to back winners since Bob McAdoo and Ernie DiGregorio in 1973 and 1974 for the Buffalo Braves.


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