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Dakota’s Stefhon Hannah was named the defensive player of the year Tuesday.

Dakota Wizards head coach Nate Bjorkgren praised Stefhon Hannah as being perhaps the best on-ball defender in the D-League.

Apparently Bjorkgren’s colleagues agree.

Hannah was named the D-League’s defensive player of the year on Tuesday, as selected by the league’s 16 head coaches.

Hannah is the sixth Wizard to win a defensive player of the year award. Rod Blakney and Willie Murdaugh claimed the IBA’s version of the honor in 1999 and 2001, respectively.

Kevin Rice was chosen the CBA’s top defender in 2003.

Hannah is the third Wizard to claim the honor in the D-League, joining Renaldo Major (2007) and Chris Johnson (2011).

The Wizards plucked Hannah out of the D-League player pool on January 22, and he quickly proved to be one of their best acquisitions in recent years.

A 6-foot-1 guard out of Missouri, Hannah played 29 games, averaging 18.4 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.1 steals, which ranked second in the league.

Hannah was a key factor as the Wizards closed with a 9-2 surge, helping Dakota finish with a 29-21 record and in a tie for first in the East Conference.

During that stretch Hannah averaged 25.2 points per game and picked up a D-League performer of the week award.

The Wizards were knocked out of the D-League playoffs by the Bakersfield Jam in a best-of-3 quarterfinal series. Bakersfield swept Dakota.

The Wizards were the fourth seed in the D-League playoffs.

The championship series started Tuesday.

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Reach sports editor Lou Babiarz at 250-8243 or Lou.Babiarz@bismarcktribune.com.

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