For the first time ever, three freshman were named to the AP All-American first team in college basketball. In addition to the three freshman, the voters selected a junior and a senior to the starting five. The AP also voted for three point guards and two center/forwards to complete the list of five on the first team. Two of the first team players will be facing off in the Final Four. However, only 1 of the other 13 selections on the three teams earned a Final Four berth.
Junior Point guard Jalen Brunson earned first-team point guard duties from the Villanova Wildcats. Brunson averaged over 19 points and 4.5 assists per game. He led the Wildcats in scoring and assists.
Senior point guard Devonte’ Graham kept the Kansas Jayhawks afloat when they should have lost games during the regular season. Graham produced 17.2 points, 7.3 assists and 4.1 rebounds during his senior year. He is the second straight senior point guard from the Kansas Jayhawks to make first team All America. Frank Mason did it last season. However, Graham helped take the Jayhawks one step further in the NCAA Tournament. He will be matched up against Brunson on Final Four Saturday.
The three freshman instantly became the big man on campus this season. The third point guard on the starting five happened to be the most explosive offensive player in the country. Trae Young produced 27.4 points, 8.7 assists and 3.9 rebounds during his historic freshman season. However, Young’s season tapered off as the Oklahoma Sooners were unable to win many games in the second half of the season. He went from a lock to win college basketball player of the year to just another All American candidate. Young almost led the Sooners to a first-round win over the Rhode Island Rams. However, they came up just short in overtime.
DeAndre Ayton shot 61 percent from the field in his only season with the Arizona Wildcats. Ayton averaged 20.1 points and 11.6 rebounds per game as a freshman. He also blocked 1.9 shots per game on the defensive end. Ayton and the Wildcats were ousted in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, as well. Ayton is likely to become the first overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft.
The final freshman to make first team All American is Marvin Bagley III. Bagley is fresh off of an Elite 8 loss with the Duke Blue Devils. However, he was a dominant offensive force during his freshman year with the Blue Devils. In 33 games, Bagley averaged 21 points and 11.1 rebounds, while shooting 61.4 percent from the field. He also shot 39.7 percent from 3-point range, highlighting his ability to expand beyond the 3-point line. Bagley struggled with foul shooting. He also missed some time due to a knee injury. Yet the absence didn’t hurt when it was time to complete the All American team.
Here are the first, second and third team All Americans for the 2018 season. In all, the 15 All American selections are represented by five conferences.
Point guard- Jalen Brunson: Jr. Villanova Wildcats- Big East
Point guard- Trae Young: Fr. Oklahoma Sooners- Big 12
Point guard- Devonte’ Graham: Sr. Kansas Jayhawks- Big 12
Forward- Marvin Bagley III: Fr. Duke Blue Devils- ACC
Center- DeAndre Ayton Jr: Fr. Arizona Wildcats- PAC-12
Keita Bates-Diop: Jr. Ohio State Buckeyes- Big Ten
Trevon Bluiett: Sr. Xavier Musketeers- Big East
Jock Landale: Sr. St. Mary’s Gaels- WCC
Miles Bridges: So. Michigan State Spartans- Big Ten
Jevon Carter: Sr. West Virginia Mountaineers- Big 12
Keenan Evans: Sr. Texas Tech Red Raiders- Big 12
Carsen Edwards: So. Purdue Boilermakers- Big Ten
Mikal Bridges: Jr. Villanova Wildcats- Big East
Luke Maye: Jr. North Carolina Tar Heels- ACC
Kyle Guy: So. Virginia Cavaliers- ACC