INDIANAPOLIS – Oregon’s Chris Duarte was honored as the nation’s top shooting guard on Saturday.
The senior from Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, was named the 2021 Jerry West Shooting Guard of the Year by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. He is the first Oregon player and the first Pac-12 player to receive the Jerry West Award.
The seven-time All-American was one of just two players nationally who averaged at least 17.0 points and 1.9 steals per game, while shooting 50 percent from the field. He was the only major conference player with those averages.
“It is an honor to win this award,” said Duarte. “It’s an amazing feeling. This was one of the goals that I worked for this year and it feels good to have that hard work pay off.
“I found out that Jerry West played the one, played the two; he did so many different things really well in his career and that’s how I’d like to be known someday too,” said Duarte. “I’d like to thank my family, my teammates and my coaches for all their help and support. I couldn’t have done this without them.”
The 2021 Associated Press Pac-12 Player of the Year was named to the All-Pac-12 first team and the Pac-12 All-Defensive team by the league’s coaches. He is a seven-time All-American this season, including a second-team selection by Sports Illustrated.
He was also named the 2021 collegiate International Player of the Year by NetScouts Basketball.
The Ducks’ leading scorer at 17.1 points per game ranked among Pac-12’s top 10 in six different statistical categories and was the only player ranked among the league’s top 10 in both overall field goal percentage (.532) and three-point field goal percentage (.424).
Duarte was second in the Pac-12 in steals and three-pointers (2.4 per game), fourth in three-point field goal percentage (.428) and sixth in scoring.
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This is the second consecutive year that an Oregon player has won one of the five national Basketball Hall of Fame “Starting Five” awards. Payton Pritchard, now with the Boston Celtics, won the Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year award last season.
Jerry West was one of the best pure shooters in the game’s history. At West Virginia University, West averaged 24.8 points and 13.3 rebounds per game. In 1959, he led the Mountaineers to the NCAA Finals and captured the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player award. In a superlative senior season, West was a consensus All-American and led West Virginia to its third consecutive conference championship.
After college, West starred with the Los Angeles Lakers alongside teammates like Elgin Baylor and Wilt Chamberlain. Known as “Mr. Clutch,” West won an NBA championship with the Lakers in 1972. Three years earlier in 1969, West was named the NBA Finals MVP despite his team not winning the championship. At the time of his retirement, West ranked third in points (25,192), fourth in scoring average (27.0 points per game), second in made free throws (7,160) and fifth in assists (6,238).
West was a 14-time All-Star and named to the NBA All-Defensive First-Team four times. He was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 1980 and voted as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA history in 1996.
Jerry West Award Winners
2021 Chris Duarte Oregon
2020 Myles Powell Seton Hall
2019 RJ Barrett Duke
2018 Carsen Edwards Purdue
2017 Malik Monk Kentucky
2016 Buddy Hield Oklahoma
2015 D’Angelo Russell Ohio State