(Reuters) - Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving was named the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) rookie of the year in a landslide victory after leading all first-year players in scoring, the league said on Tuesday.
The 20-year-old Irving, taken first overall in the 2011 NBA Draft, averaged 18.5 points and 5.4 assists in 51 games playing for a Cavaliers team that went 21-45 last season and finished with the fourth-worst record in the league.
“It was a great season, I had such an amazing time,” the Australian-born Irving said at a news conference.
“All our guys on this team worked hard, whether we came out with wins or loses it was just about us competing every single day and I know this (team) is going in the right way.”
Irving received 117 first-place votes from a panel of 120 sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada. Minnesota’s Ricky Rubio finished second with 170 points and Denver’s Kenneth Faried was third with 129 points, including one first-place vote.
Irving is the first member of the Cavaliers to win the award since LeBron James was named rookie of the year in 2004. James, who now plays with the Miami Heat, captured his third Most Valuable Player award last Saturday.
Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Julian Linden