NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Anthony Davis did everything but score.
He didn’t need to.
The player of the year was simply sublime in Kentucky’s 67-59 victory over Kansas on Monday night that gave the Wildcats their eighth national title. His presence in the lane forced Kansas to back off and look for other options, none of which were very good. When the Jayhawks did venture inside, he made them pay with ferocious blocks and rebounds.
And though his shots weren’t falling, he made sure they did for his teammates, setting them up with quick passes that never missed the mark.
Despite finishing with just six points, all but two on free throws, Davis flirted with a double-double. He tied Joakim Noah’s individual record for blocks in the NCAA championship game with six, grabbed 16 rebounds, had five assists and three steals.
If this was the last game at Kentucky for the 19-year-old freshman, expected to be the No. 1 pick in this summer’s NBA draft, it was a heck of a way to go out. To the surprise of no one, he was selected the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four.
As the final seconds ticked down, cheers of “M-V-P! M-V-P!” echoed throughout the arena. And as the buzzer sounded, Davis finally showed the personality that is sure to make him a megastar at the next level. Grabbing a national champions T-shirt and hat, Davis quickly put them on and strolled over to the Kentucky fans, pointing at the court as he did Saturday night. No screams of “This is my stage!” on this night, however.
Everybody, from the Kentucky fans to the Kansas players, already knew that.
Standing tall on the podium for the trophy presentation, Davis repeatedly turned to the Kentucky cheering section, waving his long arms and urging fans to show the Wildcats even more love.
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