March 31, 2008
North Carolina's Tyler Hansbrough and Kansas State's Michael Beasley were unanimous selections to The Associated Press' All-America team Monday. For the first time, no senior was chosen.
Beasley and Kevin Love of UCLA made it two straight years there were two freshmen chosen. Sophomore D.J. Augustin of Texas and junior Chris Douglas-Roberts of Memphis rounded out the selections, shutting out the seniors.
The AP started choosing All-America teams after the 1947-48 season, and for the next six decades there was at least one member of the senior class on every first team.
Until this group.
Hansbrough, a junior and the Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year, and Beasley, the Big 12 player of the year and third freshman to lead the country in rebounding, were named on all 72 ballots and received 360 points from the same national media panel that selects the weekly Top 25. The voting was done before the NCAA tournament.
"To be one of just two players in the country to receive such an honor is very humbling," said Beasley, who led Kansas State to its first NCAA bid since 1996. "I have never been about individual accomplishments, but about helping my team win games. I wish we were still playing, but I am happy with the success we had this season."
The 6-foot-10 Beasley averaged 26.5 points and 12.4 rebounds for the Wildcats, shooting 53.5 percent from the field including 38.9 percent from 3-point range. He is Kansas State's first All-America since Bob Boozer in 1959.
Hansbrough, a second-team selection last season, compiled impressive numbers (23.0 points, 10.4 rebounds) and lived up to his "Psycho T" nickname while leading the Tar Heels to a school-record 36 wins and their 17th Final Four. The last North Carolina player to be picked to the first team was Joseph Forte in 2001.
The 6-9 Hansbrough and Beasley joined Jameer Nelson of Saint Joseph's and Emeka Okafor of Connecticut in 2004, and J.J. Redick of Duke and Adam Morrison of Gonzaga in 2006 as unanimous tandems. Hansbrough said he knew his name and Beasley's were linked most of the season by fans and media.
"I think everybody wants to make comparisons about stats and things," Hansbrough said. "To me, I thought he was definitely in a different situation than here. ... He definitely had a good year and has had a lot of accomplishments."
The 6-foot Augustin was named on 66 ballots and had 346 points. He directed the Longhorns to the regional final, averaging 19.8 points and 5.7 assists in 37.2 minutes. It is the second straight year a Texas player was on the first team as Kevin Durant and Ohio State's Greg Oden became just the third and fourth freshmen to be so honored since 1972.
"It shows if you come here and work hard, ready to learn, great things will happen," Augustin said.
The 6-10 Love led the Bruins to their third straight Final Four appearance, averaging a double-double in their tournament run after getting 17.1 points and 10.6 rebounds and shooting 55.7 percent in the regular season.
Love received 52 first-team votes and 318 points to become UCLA's second All-America in as many seasons as Arron Afflalo was chosen last year. Love said he followed Beasley closely this season.
"That's my guy. I've known Mike since seventh grade. We played against each other so many times," Love said. "He's a great player. He had one hell of a year this year, and I think if he decides to leave he'll be the No. 1 pick in the draft."
Douglas-Roberts, the third member of the All-America team playing in the Final Four, had 52 first-team votes and 309 points. The 6-7 swingman averaged 17.2 points and 4.1 rebounds and shot 44.9 percent from 3-point range for the Tigers, who lost just one game this season and earned the school's second No. 1 ranking.
"It's an honor. I've put a lot of work in, over the summers, during the season and staying after practice just trying to improve. I feel now that I'm finally getting the recognition I deserve," said Douglas-Roberts, Memphis' first All-America since Penny Hardaway in 1993. "But I still say when people look at that All-American list, it's a motivation because I'm the one that people know the least about."
Notre Dame sophomore center Luke Harangody was sixth in the voting with 211 points, and he was joined on the second team by seniors Shan Foster of Vanderbilt, D.J. White of Indiana and Roy Hibbert of Georgetown, and college basketball's newest star, Davidson sophomore guard Stephen Curry who led the Wildcats to the regional final by averaging 34.5 points in the NCAA tournament.
The third team was senior Chris Lofton of Tennessee, junior Darren Collison of UCLA, sophomore Brook Lopez of Stanford and freshmen Derrick Rose of Memphis and Eric Gordon of Indiana.