Baylor University Press Release
By: David Kaye
WACO, Texas – Baylor junior guard Davion Mitchell has swept three National Defensive Player of the Year awards, as announced Friday by the NABC, Atlanta Tipoff Club and College Insider.
The Hinesville, Ga., native was announced as NABC Defensive Player of the Year at 10 a.m. CT Friday, and one hour later he was revealed as Naismith Men’s Defensive Player of the Year. Combined with the Lefty Driesell Award he picked up on Thursday, Mitchell swept all three National Defensive Player of the Year Awards.
Mitchell was one of four finalists for the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year, and he was selected for the award ahead of Alabama’s Herbert Jones, USC’s Evan Mobley and Utah State’s Neemias Queta. Mitchell was one of 10 semifinalists for the same award last season, along with teammate and 2020 award finalist Mark Vital. Both Mitchell and Vital repeated as semifinalists in 2021.
“Winning National Defensive Player of the Year is a huge honor and I’m thankful to the committees for picking me out of so many great defenders,” Mitchell said. “There are countless people who have helped me work on my game over the years, and I’m so happy for all of them that they’re being rewarded for all of the time they’ve invested. My family, my coaches, all of my teammates and the grad assistants who have lived with me in the gym, they all played a part in this award. I thank God every day for this opportunity to play the game I love, and I can’t wait to get back out there and compete for a national championship with my teammates.”
Mitchell follows Johnathan Motley as the second national individual award winner in Baylor program history. Motley picked up the 2017 Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year Award to become Baylor’s first individual award winner. Mitchell is the first Bear to win a national award open to all positions.
The Naismith Defensive Player of the Year Award has recognized the nation’s top defender in every year since 2018. West Virginia’s Jevon Carter won the inaugural award, followed by Washington’s Matisse Thybulle in 2019, Kansas’ Marcus Garrett in 2020 and Mitchell in 2021.
The National Association of Basketball Coaches will present Mitchell with his NABC Defensive Player of the Year Award during tonight’s AT&T NABC Guardians of the Game Awards Show, which will be broadcast on Stadium (watchstadium.com) at 5:30 p.m. CT Friday.
NABC National Defensive Player of the Year has honored the nation’s best defensive player annually since 1987. Mitchell joins an elite group with previous honorees such as three-time winner Stacey Augmon of UNLV, Georgetown’s Alonzo Mourning, Duke’s Grant Hill, three-time winner Tim Duncan of Wake Forest, three-time winner Shane Battier of Duke, Cincinnati’s Kenyon Martin, Kentucky’s Anthony Davis, Indiana’s Victor Oladipo and West Virginia two-time winner Jevon Carter.
The Lefty Driesell Defensive Player of the Year Award has been given annually since 2010 to the nation’s most outstanding college basketball defender. Mississippi State’s Jarvis Varnado won the inaugural award, followed by Old Dominion’s Kent Bazemore and Kentucky’s Anthony Davis. Last year’s Lefty Driesell Award went to Merrimack’s Juvaris Hayes.
Baylor, which earned the first No. 1 NCAA Tournament seed in program history, has advanced to its third NCAA Tournament Final Four in program history and the first in the modern era. The South Region champion No. 1 seed Bears will face Midwest Region champion No. 2 seed Houston at 4:14 p.m. CT Saturday on CBS. The game will be Baylor’s first appearance in the Final Four since 1950.
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