Leonard Finishes Fourth in Rookie of the Year Balloting
May 16, 2012
SAN DIEGO - Former San Diego State men's basketball player and current San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard finished fourth in balloting for the Rookie of the Year announced by the National Basketball Association on Tuesday morning.
Leonard finished with 47 points in the voting for the award, which was won by Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving (592 points). Minnesota Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio (170 points) and Denver Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried (129 points) finished second and third, respectively. Leonard received one first-place vote and he was one of just four to do so, joining Irving (117), Rubio (1) and New York Knicks guard Iman Shumpert (1).
Leonard saw action 64 of the 66 games in the 2011-12 season, starting on 39 occasions. The 6-foot-7 forward finished his rookie campaign averaging 7.9 points and 5.1 rebounds per game, while shooting 49.3 percent from the floor. Leonard led the top-seeded Spurs with 85 steals and averaged 24.0 minutes a game. In the playoffs, he has started all five of San Antonio's games and is averaging 8.8 points and is shooting 50 percent from the field, including a mark of 53.8 percent from three-point range.
In two seasons on Montezuma Mesa, Leonard averaged 14.1 points and 10.2 rebounds, including a career-best 15.5 points and 10.6 rebounds (9th in NCAA) in 2010-11 as a sophomore. He scored 990 career points, which is the 19th-highest total in SDSU Division I history, and grabbed 716 rebounds, which ranks seventh all-time in San Diego State history and is the fifth most in the program's D-I history.
A double-double machine, the Riverside, Calif., native had 40 double-doubles in 70 career games (69 career starts), including 23 in 2010-11. His 40 double-doubles is the second most in school history behind former Aztec Michael Cage's 60 (1981-84). His 23 last season, meanwhile, ranked fourth in the NCAA and is tied with Cage (1984) for the most in a single season.
Leonard and the Spurs continue their Western Conference semifinal series with the Los Angeles Clippers Thursday. Game two is set for 6:30 p.m. PT on ESPN.