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Evans receives ROY trophy

Posted by rc360 on April 30, 2010

T-Mobile Director of Marketing Alisa Arner (right) presents Sacramento Kings guard Tyreke Evans (left) the Eddie Gottlieb Trophy after becoming the 2009-10 T-Mobile NBA Rookie of the Year, Thursday, April 29, 2010, in Sacramento, Calif. (SacPress Photo/Rob Small)

(Note: Photo was the “Featured Photo of the Day” on the front page of Sacramento Press on April 30, 2010.  Story was also the top story on the sports page.  Click here to read the story on the website.)

As the 2009-10 NBA Rookie of the Year, Sacramento Kings guard Tyreke Evans was presented the Eddie Gottlieb Trophy in an afternoon press conference today at Arco Arena.

The press room was jam-packed with local and national media and applause for Evans’ achievement.

He received 491 points, with 67 first-place votes worth five points each, 50 second-place votes worth three points and six third place votes worth one point. A panel of 123 sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada cast their ballots, and Evans came out on top.

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry finished in second place with 391 points, Milwaukee Bucks guard Brandon Jennings finished in third with 204 points and New Orleans Hornets guard Darren Collison finished fourth with 17 points. Minnesota Timberwolves guard Jonny Flynn and Chicago Bulls forward Taj Gibson tied for fifth with two points each.

Evans, of course, became the fourth rookie to average at least 20 points, five rebounds and five assists per game, joining Oscar Robertson, Michael Jordan and LeBron James. He averaged 20.1 points, 5.3 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game.

He also became the fifth rookie in franchise history and the first in the team’s Sacramento era to win the award. The Kings haven’t had a player win a major award since Bobby Jackson won the Sixth Man award in the 2002-2003 season.

“It’s just one of the awards that I had to go for,” Evans said after being introduced. “I wanted to dream of it since I was little, and (I) finally got a chance to make my dream come true.”

Kings President of Basketball Operations Geoff Petrie said that Evans receiving the award was exciting for Evans, the team and the community.

“This was a season for Tyreke which unfolded like few others,” Petrie said. “We took him at No. 4 in the draft last year because we thought he had a chance. He had star potential and had a chance to develop into a star. I think in his first season he has proven to be every bit of that and even more.”

Co-owners Joe and Gavin Maloof are glad that President Barack Obama saw star potential in Evans too. Evans met the President when the Maloofs invited them both to dinner in Las Vegas.

“Well, I guess the President was right,” Gavin said. “We want to thank President Obama for his recommendation of drafting Tyreke Evans with our fourth pick. So, thank you Mr. President.”

The crowd shared a laugh after Gavin’s opening statement. He continued about Evans and the future of the Kings.

“It’s a great day for us and our organization,” he said, “one that I’ve been waiting for for a long time. It’s great for our fans around the country and the world to finally see that this is a person who can take us where we need to go. Tyreke has only scratched the surface. His potential’s unlimited.”

Kings Head Coach Paul Westphal said that although there were other rookies that could have won the award, Evans was at the top of the class.

“It’s something we felt, right from the start, was in his destiny,” he said. “He earned it. There was a great group of candidates this year. I think Tyreke stood out and won this award because of his consistency.

“The first day he walked into our training facility, the veterans, as soon as he started playing, they started deferring to him. It’s like he has this ability to inspire confidence, that he knows what he’s doing out there and is there to win. He’s all business.”

While today was all about him, Evans didn’t forget about the players who helped him get to where he was.

“I couldn’t have done it without my teammates,” he said. “They started it from the beginning. I had a lot of fun playing with them.”

Evans also said that he will sign up to participate in Team USA Basketball’s mini-camp in Las Vegas, where he will have the chance to be added to the roster for the FIBA World Basketball Championships in Turkey. Evans was one of three players invited to join the roster.

Curry and Oklahoma City Thunder forward Jeff Green were also invited.

No one knows which rookie will have the better career down the road, but Evans proved that he was the rookie of the year.

Click here to read the story and view additional photos from the press conference and celebration rally on Sacramento Press.

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