The American Athletic Conference individual awards were handed out today and Shabazz Napier was announced as the big winner. The senior guard was named as conference player of the year beating out Cincinnati's Sean Kilpatrick and Lousiville's Russ Smith at the award ceremony at the Gibson Guitar Factory in Memphis.
Napier was joined at the award luncheon by his mother and sister as well as the UConn coaching staff, and took the stage after the announcement to make a speech. After taking the podium, Shabazz thanked just about everyone including his mother, his teammates, the trainers, the strength coach, and even the managers. Napier said, "I'm truly grateful and honored, but I wish i could break this award into 15 pieces for my teammates. They make it easy to play the game I love."
The Conference player of the year award was not the only recognition Napier received today as he was also named as a USWBA first team All-American along with Doug McDermott, Jabari Parker, Russ Smith, and Nick Johnson. He became the fifth UConn player to be named to the All-American team since 2004, and the first since Kemba Walker in 2011.
Fresh off the award win, Shabazz looks to lead the Huskies on their first step toward more hardware when UConn takes on the Memphis Tigers in Memphis tomorrow night at 9PM in the quarterfinals of the AAC Tournament.