Michigan State’s Valentine wins AP Player of the Year

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SYRACUSE, NY - MARCH 27: Denzel Valentine #45 of the Michigan State Spartans celebrates after defeating the Oklahoma Sooners 62 to 58 during the East Regional Semifinal of the 2015 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at the Carrier Dome on March 27, 2015 in Syracuse, New York. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

HOUSTON (AP) — Denzel Valentine of Michigan State is The Associated Press Player of the Year, edging out Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield by three votes.

Valentine is the first Spartans player to win the award. He accepted the trophy Thursday in Houston.

Valentine received 34 of 65 votes from the national media panel that selects the weekly AP Top 25. Hield was the only other player to receive votes. Hield and Valentine were the only unanimous selections to the AP All-America team.

Valentine, a 6-foot-5 senior, led Michigan State (29-6) to a second-place finish in the Big Ten regular season and was the conference player of the year. He averaged 19.4 points, 7.6 rebounds and 7.6 assists.

The Spartans were ranked No. 1 for four weeks and finished second in the final AP Top 25. They lost to Middle Tennessee State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Voting was done before the tournament.

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