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Evans first player in Sacramento Kings’ history to win ROY

By Scott Levin
Sports Informant Contributing Writer

Thursday was the culmination of 20 years of hard work, a dedicated support staff and one supremely talented basketball player.

Tyreke Evans, surrounded by family and key members of the Kings organization, received the 2009-2010 T-Mobile Rookie of the Year award. Evans garnered 67 of a possible 123 first-place votes, beating out Stephen Curry (43 first-place votes) and Brandon Jennings (12).

Evans became the first player in Sacramento Kings history to win the award.

Tyreke Evans answers questions at the press conference announcing he won Rookie of the Year. (Photo courtesy Scott Levin)

“It’s just one of the awards that I had a goal for since I’ve been in the NBA,” Evans said. “I’m proud that it came true. I wanted this dream since I was little. I finally got a chance to make my dream come true.”

Evans posted one of the best seasons by a rookie in NBA history, joining Oscar Robertson, Michael Jordan and LeBron James as the only first-year players to ever average at least 20 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists per game.

In doing so, Evans revived a Kings franchise that was as low as it has been since moving to Sacramento. After reaching the playoffs in eight straight seasons earlier in the decade, the Kings have been below .500 ever since, reaching rock bottom last season with a franchise-worst 17 wins.

“It’s a great day for us, for our organization, one that I’ve been waiting for for a long time,” Kings owner Gavin Maloof said. “It’s great for our fans…to finally see that this is a person that can take us where we need to go.

“Tyreke has only scratched the surface. His potential is unlimited.”

The award did not come without some competition. Jennings, the flashy Bucks guard, was an early candidate, posting 55 points in one game and eventually leading Milwaukee to the playoffs. Golden State’s Curry made a strong late push for the trophy, putting up gaudy numbers in the high-octane Warriors offense.

“I knew what those guys were capable of doing,” Evans said. “I’m happy that they had a good season. We all worked hard for it. My hat’s off to them.”

But it was Evans who pieced together the complete season. He averaged at least 19 points in every full month of the season. He also was a part of many spectacular performances — buzzer beaters against Milwaukee and Denver, the Kings comeback in Chicago, winning the Rookie Game MVP — that likely boosted his stock among award voters.

The next step for Evans is improving on his already mature game. He will head to Las Vegas on Monday to sign on with Team USA.

But Evans’ focus is on this Kings team and coming back stronger.

“I’m looking forward to coming back and being more of a leader and trying to help this team as much as possible,” he said. “Sacramento, the fans and the city, (are) probably the best fans I’ve ever played in an arena with. I’m happy that I’m here and got a chance to be a part of the Sacramento Kings.

“I’m just trying to be the best teammate I can be.”

Comments

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  1. April 30th, 2010 at 9:23 am by Tweets that mention Evans first player in Sacramento Kings’ history to win ROY | The Sports Informant -- Topsy.com

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