Malcolm Brogdon made history on Monday night at the inaugural NBA Awards. The league announced that Brogdon has been named the NBA Rookie of the Year, the first second round NBA Draft pick to win the award in the common draft era began in 1966.
In a display of what Virginia basketball fans became used to over his career in Charlottesville, Brogdon deflected the spotlight from himself during his acceptance speech by thanking his mother, God, coach Jason Kidd and the entire Bucks organization, and his teammates for the opportunities that he was given.
”I want to say thank you to my Bucks owners, the whole Bucks organization, Coach Kidd, my teammates – you know, they believe in me and they’ve given me tremendous opportunity,” Brogdon said as part of his speech. ”It’s been a great year. I think this is a testament to the whole organization.”
The Milwaukee Bucks scooped up Brogdon with the 36th pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, but he quickly established himself as a member of their rotation and eventually as a part-time starter. Brogdon led rookies in assists (4.2 per game) and steals (1.12 per game), while also becoming just one of five rookies in NBA history to shoot 40% or better from 3-point range while also averaging at least 4.0 assists per game. He ranked second among rookies with a 3-point shooting percentage of 40.4% and second in free throw percentage at 86.5%. He was third in overall field goal percentage at 45.7% and fourth in scoring at 10.2 points per game.
Brogdon also posted the first triple-double by a rookie in franchise history when he put up 15 points, 12 assists, and 11 rebounds at Chicago on New Year’s Eve.
That all came on the heels of an outstanding Virginia career that resulted in the program retiring his number. Brogdon won the ACC Player of the Year and the ACC Defensive Player of the Year Awards and was a consensus All-American as a senior. For his career, he ranked first all-time at UVA in free throw percentage (87.6%), second in games played (136), sixth in 3-point field goal percentage (36.5%), seventh in 3-pointers (185), ninth in all-time scoring (1,809), and and ninth in free throws made (422).
Despite all of the production in college, he slipped into the second round before becoming the second NBA Rookie of the Year in program history. Ralph Sampson took the recognition in 1984.
“I want to say this is a testament to guys that are underestimated, guys that are second round picks, guys that are undrafted every year, that get looked over regardless of the work they put in, regardless of what they do, “You can always achieve your dreams if you have faith, if you sacrifice for what you want … so I just want to say thank you to everybody.”
Plenty of Hoos wanted to return that thankfulness sentiment to Brogdon on his big night. That included Virginia coach Tony Bennett, who left this statement in a Twitter video:
“Malcolm. Rookie of the Year. Man that sounds sweet,” Bennett said. “We are so excited for you Malcolm. On behalf of the whole coaching staff, the current players, the former players, the UVA fan base, we couldn’t be more ecstatic, more happy to say you’re one of us, you’re one of our own. It just goes to show what an incredible amount of faith, of drive, of determination, of being brought up the right way by your family what it can do. You never cease to amaze us and all things are possible, we know that. Thank you for your time that was spent at UVA helping build this program, but so well deserved Rookie of the Year. As always, stay humble.”