MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Jevon Carter, whose on-the-ball pressure and deflected passes became a hallmark of “Press Virginia” the past three seasons, earned Defensive Player of the Year honors Sunday night from the National Association of Basketball Coaches.
Carter received the award in Phoenix at the Final Four awards show.
“I want to thank my coaches for creating ‘Press Virginia’ and West Virginia for giving me an opportunity to play at the D-I level,” he said.
It’s an honor at least one of his teammates could have envisioned during the summer of 2014 when Carter arrived in Morgantown.
“We were in open gym and he was picking up full-court on defense,” guard Tarik Phillip recalled. “I mean, almost nobody does that. So I thought, ‘OK, there’s something to this guy. He’s got some grit.'”
The Big 12 leader in steals, Carter ranked seventh nationally with 2.49 per game. He earned all-conference defensive honors for the third straight season in leading the Mountaineers to a 28-9 finish and a near-upset of Gonzaga in the Sweet 16.
Past winners of the NABC’s defensive player award include Tim Duncan, Alonzo Mourning, Kenyon Martin, Shane Battier, Emeka Okafor and Grant Hill.
In the 33-year history of the award, Carter became only the fourth point guard honored, following inaugural winner Tommy Amaker of Duke (1987), Providence’s John Linehan (2002) and Ohio State’s Aaron Craft (2014).
Even in a West Virginia rotation that often stretched 13 players deep, Carter averaged 32 minutes per game and felt indispensable. From Frank Mason to Monte Morris to Jawun Evans, his defense challenged the Big 12’s elite scoring guards.
In Sweet 16 loss to Gonzaga, Carter scored 21 points while holding the Zags’ second-team All-American Nigel Williams-Goss to a season-low two baskets.
“Jevon always ready to go against great players,” said West Virginia teammate Daxter Miles. “He’s never going to shy away from it.”
With his senior season yet to come, Carter’s 218 career steals are 33 behind WVU record-holder Greg Jones, and his career average of 2.04 per game could soon surpass Damian Owens (2.1).
“There are scorers all around the world, and I feel like not too many people take pride in playing defense,” he said. “So I knew if I wanted to create that separation between myself and other people I would have to do it on the defensive end.”
|NABC Final Four awards|
|Coach of the Year||Mark Few, Gonzaga|
|Player of the Year||Frank Mason, Kansas|
|Defensive Player of the Year||Jevon Carter, West Virginia|
|Big Man of the Year||Caleb Swanigan, Purdue|
|Freshman of the Year||Lonzo Ball, UCLA|