Bob Knight was the runner-up for the Associated Press's coach of the year award. Duke's Jason Williams and Pittsburgh's Ben Howland were honored Friday as The Associated Press college basketball player and coach of the year. Williams, the only unanimous All-America selection this season, is the second straight Duke player to be selected national player of year and the fifth Blue Devil to win the Adolph Rupp Award.
Shane Battier won last season. The other Duke players to be honored were Elton Brand in 1999, Christian Laettner in 1992, and Art Heyman in 1963. Williams thanked his coach, Mike Krzyzewski, who missed the ceremony after undergoing hip replacement surgery on Wednesday.
"Being with Coach K the past three years is the best thing I could have ever asked for," said Williams. "I owe him everything."
Howland led the Panthers (29 - 6) to the most victories in school history, their first appearance in the NCAA tournament in nine years, and their first berth in the round of 16 since 1974.
"I think I have the greatest job in America," Howland said. "Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would win an award like this."
Williams, a 6' 2" guard, received more than double the votes (38) than the runner-up, Drew Gooden of Kansas (18), in balloting by the 72-member national panel that selects the weekly AP Top 25. Howland received 16 votes, followed by Bob Knight of Texas Tech (11).
Williams, a junior also voted to the All-America team as a sophomore, averaged 21.3 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 5.3 assists for the defending champion Blue Devils (31 - 4), ranked #1 for all but four weeks this season. He shot 45.7% from the field, including 38.3% from 3-point range.
Duke, the #1 seed in the South Regional in the NCAA tournament, was eliminated by Indiana in the round of 16 after Williams missed a potential game-tying foul shot with 4.2 seconds left. It was his last college game: Williams plans to leave school early for the NBA.
Howland, who earlier this week signed a contract extension with Pittsburgh through the 2008 - 2009 season, is 61 - 35 in three seasons with the Panthers, and 140 - 94 in eight years as a head coach. Before becoming the 13th head coach in Pitt history, Howland spent five years at Northern Arizona.
Pittsburgh, which won the Big East's West Division and lost to Connecticut in the conference tournament championship game, was eliminated by Kent State in the regional semifinals. The Panthers were ranked as high as seventh this season, their highest since being #5 in 1988.
Howland is the first Pitt coach to win the award and joins Connecticut's Jim Calhoun in 1990 as the only winners from the Big East. North Carolina coach Matt Doherty won the award last season.
Following Howland and Bob Knight in the voting were: Ernie Kent of Oregon (10), Roy Williams of Kansas (9), Bob Huggins of Cincinnati (7), Kelvin Sampson of Oklahoma (7), Mark Few of Gonzaga (3), Tom Crean of Marquette (2), Jim Harrick of Georgia (2), Lute Olson of Arizona (2), Mark Gottfried of Alabama (1), Riley Wallace of Hawaii (1), and Gary Williams of Maryland (1).
For the player award, Steve Logan of Cincinnati was third with eight votes, followed by Dan Dickau of Gonzaga (5), Juan Dixon of Maryland (2), and Mike Dunleavy of Duke (1).