For the third year straight, Iowa’s Keegan Murray was named All-American on the Associated Press All-Team. Illinois’ Kofi Cockburn is now in second place. Not bad for a few programs that don’t have a lot of them.
The Fighting Illini did not have a first-team selection until Ayo Didsunmu made it last year, when Cockburn was elected to the second team. The Hawkeyes hadn’t had a first team selection since 1952, when LukaGarza, last year’s AP player-of-the-year made his second consecutive appearance on the five-man team.
Add Johnny Davis from Wisconsin and you have the Big Ten well represented in Tuesda, Kentucky on the AP’s initial team. This included Oscar Tshiebwe, Kentucky’s big man — the player of the Year favorite — and Ochai Agbaji, Kansas’s guard.
Murray, a Cedar Rapids, Iowa sophomore guard, said that he learned a lot from other players last year about what it takes to be a great player at this level. He is currently fourth in scoring nationally at 23.6 points per match heading into the NCAA Tournament.
Murray said, “It’s almost like everything just fell together for me,” Murray explained, “just the hard work that was put in.”
The fifth-seeded Hawkeyes will face Richmond on Thursday, having won the Big Ten Tournament title.
Murray stated that while earlier in the year we struggled a bit, now things are going really well and it’s just great feeling.
All first-team picks are positioned for a postseason run.
Cockburn, a bruising forward hailing from Kingston, Jamaica, will play Chattanooga Friday against the fourth-seeded Fighting Illini. The same day, Davis and the third seeded Badgers open for Colgate, Davis and the Badgers are also playing. Tshiebwe is second in Kentucky’s seeding going into Thursday’s match against Saint Peter’s. Agbaji and Jayhawks, who are top-seeded, open against one of these play-in teams.
Davis joins Alando Tucker and Frank Kaminsky as Badgers’ third All-Americans. Tshiebwe, meanwhile, is the first All-American for Kentucky since Tyler Ulis (2016). Agbaji is the Jayhawks’ third first-team pick in six years, following Devonte Graham and Frank Mason in 2017 respectively.
Agbaji, like Murray and the Hawkeyes has had some experience in reducing nets this season.
Kansas beat Texas Tech to be named Big 12 Player of the Year. Agbaji also earned tournament MVP honors, in addition to the growing number of hardware awards he has received during his senior season.
It’s amazing to watch him accomplish all these things. Christian Braun, a Jayhawks teammate, said that he has achieved almost every goal he set for himself. “It’s amazing to see him work hard, practice hard, and accomplish all the things he set his mind to do.”
Drew Timme, Gonzaga, was the second-year leader of the AP second team. He was joined by Chet Holmgren, a freshman teammate. Jaden Ivey from Purdue provided another All-American for the Big Ten, and was likely to be No. The second team was completed by Jabari Smith, an Auburn draft pick, and Benedict Mathurin, an Arizona draft pick.
The No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament is the Bulldogs. The Bulldogs are the No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, for the second consecutive season. They also had two second-team selections last year in Timme (and Jalen Sugs). Corey Kispert was a teammate and was a first-teamer.
Paolo Banchero, from Duke, was the only player from ACC to be selected for one of the three first teams. The Blue Devils were also the only team from this prestigious basketball conference to make it to the final Top 25 poll. Banchero will also be remembered as the last All-American from a long list of players who have played for Mike Krzyzewski, the Blue Devils’ retiring coach.
Collin Gillespie from Villanova and E.J. Banchero were joined by Banchero on the third team. Liddell from Ohio State and Walker Kessler, both of whom were honorable men last season, joined Banchero on the third team. JD Notae from Arkansas and James Akinjo of Baylor tied for the last place on the third team. This gives it six members instead of five.
David Roddy, Colorado State, was the highest vote-getter among honorable mention selections. Other honorees include Armando Bacot from North Carolina, Johnny Juzang at UCLA, Alondes Williams at Wake Forest, Tari Eason at LSU, Zach Edey and Max Abmas at Oral Roberts. Ron Harper Jr. was also honored.