Photo by Scott Boldt
Oregon Basketball

Payton Pritchard Wins Cousy Award

April 7, 2020
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Via Oregon Communications

BRISTOL, Conn. – It’s official. Payton Pritchard is the best point guard in the nation.

 

The senior from West Linn, Ore., was named the recipient of the 2020 Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award Tuesday by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. He is the first Duck to win the Cousy Award and is just the second player in Pac-12 history to receive the Cousy Award.

 

“It means a lot to win this award, to see all the hard work and hours spent in the gym pay off,” said Pritchard. “You don't get awards like these without winning and that takes a team effort. I want to thank my coaches and teammates for believing in me to lead our team and my parents who sacrificed so much in their lives for me to have moments like these.”

 

The 2020 Pac-12 Player of the Year was one of just three players nationally to average at least 20 points, four rebounds and five assists per game and was one of just four players in the country who led his conference in both scoring (20.5 points per game) and assists (5.6 per game).

 

Named Oregon’s first consensus first team All-American in 80 years, Pritchard helped Oregon to an outright Pac-12 regular season title, the Ducks’ third in the last five years. Oregon finished 24-7 overall (13-5 in the conference).

 

The 13-time first team All-American finished his career as school record holder in assists (659), wins (105) games played (144) and games started (140). He ranks second in both UO career steals with 211 and three-pointers with 288. His 1,938 career points rank fourth all-time at Oregon.

 

“This is really a great honor for Payton and his teammates,” said head coach Dana Altman. “Any point guard award obviously goes to his teammates as well because of the assists and winning. For our program, to have an award this prestigious with Bob Cousy’s name on it, it’s great. There’s only one winner a year and as time goes by, that’s becomes more and more historically significant.”

 

Pritchard joined Gary Payton (Oregon State, 1989-90), Damon Stoudamire (Arizona, 1994-95) and Jason Terry (Arizona, 1998-99) as the only players in conference history to lead the league in both scoring and assists. Pritchard also led the league with 88 three-pointers, joining Stoudamire (112) as the only players to top all three categories in the same season.

He is the only player in Pac-12 history with 1,900 career points, 600 career assists and 500 career rebounds.

 

“Payton Pritchard was the ultimate point guard this season, knowing when to make the pass and when to score,” said Cousy himself. “He led the outstanding Pac-12 Conference in passing and assists and always seemed to deliver when his team needed him most. Congrats to Payton on a tremendous season and collegiate career.”

 

With Sabrina Ionescu winning the Nancy Lieberman Award on Monday, Oregon became the first school ever to sweep men’s and women’s national point guard of the year honors in the same season.

 

“That's amazing,” said Pritchard. “We both came in together and for us to finish together on top is amazing. She has had one unbelievable career at Oregon and she is not done yet, her greatness has just begun.”

 

Previous winners of the Cousy Award include Ja Morant (2019, Murray State), Jalen Brunson (2018, Villanova), Frank Mason III (2017, Kansas), Delon Wright (2015, Utah), Shabazz Napier (2014, Connecticut), Trey Burke (2013, Michigan), Kemba Walker (2011, Connecticut) and Ty Lawson (2009, North Carolina).

 

“The point guards who won this award before me are some unbelievable players and it is a great honor to be in their company as a Bob Cousy Award recipient,” said Pritchard.

 

According to Synergy Basketball, Pritchard scored the most points in crunch time, 91, of any player in the NCAA this season.

 

“Because of his work ethic, he had tremendous confidence and that’s what you need in those late-game situations,” said Altman. “He had that because of his work ethic the last four years. Those shots in crunch time all boil down to how much confidence you have.”

 

Pritchard was also named the recipient of the 2019-20 Lute Olson Award, which is presented annually to the nation's top Division I player, by CollegeInsider.com.

 

Nicknamed the "Houdini of the Hardwood" by sportswriters, Cousy had an All-America career at Holy Cross, leading the Crusaders to three NCAA tournaments and the 1947 title. With fellow Hall of Famer Bill Russell, Cousy went on to win six NBA titles with the Boston Celtics and led the NBA in assists eight consecutive years (1953-60). He played in 13 straight NBA All-Star games. He was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1971.

 

Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Winners

2020      Payton Pritchard Oregon

2019      Ja Morant             Murray State

2018      Jalen Brunson      Villanova

2017      Frank Mason III    Kansas

2016      Tyler Ulis              Kentucky

2015      Delon Wright       Utah

2014      Shabazz Napier    Connecticut

2013      Trey Burke            Michigan

2012      Kendall Marshall North Carolina

2011      Kemba Walker     Connecticut

2010      Greivis Vasquez   Maryland

2009      Ty Lawson            North Carolina

2008      DJ Augustin          Texas

2007      Acie Law IV           Texas A&M

2006      Dee Brown           Illinois

2005      Raymond Felton  North Carolina

2004      Jameer Nelson     St. Joseph's

 
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