Malcolm Brogdon, a 2016 University of Virginia graduate and one of the most decorated players in UVA basketball history, earned the National Basketball Association’s Rookie of the Year award Monday following a standout season with the Milwaukee Bucks.
Brogdon, a history major who lived on the Range in his final year at UVA while earning a master’s degree from the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, follows in the footsteps of Ralph Sampson, who won the award in 1984.
In his acceptance speech, Brogdon said his award shows the potential of players who come into the league without lofty expectations.
“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,” said Brogdon, who was the 36th pick in the 2016 NBA draft. “You can always achieve your dreams if you have faith, if you sacrifice for what you want.”
While at UVA, Brogdon earned ACC Player of the Year and ACC Defensive Player of the Year honors in the same season, and was first-team All-America. The athletics department retired his No. 15 in February.
“I am appreciative of the faculty who challenged and supported me, as well as each staff person who supported me during times of challenge, had a kind word when I needed one, and who continue to work to make the University great,” Brogdon wrote in a letter after the University announced that his number would be retired.
“While at UVA, I met some of the finest women and men anywhere. It was an honor to attend such a great university and to learn and grow with fellow students.”
In his first NBA season, Brogdon led rookies in assists (4.2 per game) and steals (1.12 per game) and ranked second in three-point field goal percentage (40.4) and free throw percentage (86.5). He was also third in field goal percentage (45.7) and fourth in scoring (10.2 ppg).
At UVA, he helped the Cavaliers to 111 wins, four NCAA tournaments, two ACC regular-season titles and one ACC Tournament championship during his career.