Oklahoma’s Trae Young took college basketball by storm, leading the nation in scoring and assists. Deandre Ayton played his one season at Arizona with power and athleticism few could match. Versatile big man Marvin Bagley III made his lone year a Duke a memorable one.
The talented trio made history Tuesday by being named to the AP All-America team, the first time three freshmen were named to the first team in its 70-year history.
They were joined by Villanova’s Jalen Brunson and Kansas guard Devonte’ Graham on the team selected by the same 65-member national media panel that selects the weekly AP Top 25.
The All-America first team has had a pair of freshmen three times: John Wall and Demarcus Cousins in 2010; Michael Beasley and Kevin Love in 2008; Kevin Durant and Greg Oden in 2007.
Young, Ayton and Bagley set a new standard with stellar one-and-done seasons.
Young was a top recruit coming out of Norman, Okla., and chose to play for his hometown Sooners. Oklahoma fans were sure glad he did.
A 6-foot-2 point guard, Young popped up on the national radar by scoring 43 points against Oregon early in the season and broke the NCAA record with 22 assists against Northwestern State less than a month later.
Even when teams started to figure out ways to slow Young, he kept scoring and dishing, leading the nation at 27.4 points and 8.7 assists.
“He’s had an interesting year, probably as interesting as anyone can have,” Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger said. “He battled well all year long.”
So did Ayton, a 7-foot-1, 260-pound centern from the Bahamas who averaged 20.1 points on 61% shooting, 11.6 rebounds and 2.0 blocked shots per game on his way to becoming the Pac-12 player of the year.
“He’s a once-in-a-generation player,” Arizona coach Sean Miller said. “I doubt if I will ever coach anyone like him again. I don’t mean that we won’t try, but there just aren’t many Deandres walking around.”
Same could be said of the 6-11 Bagley, who led the Blue Devils with 21.2 points and 11.1 rebounds.
“He’s the most unique player we’ve had here at Duke during my 38 years,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “He has everything.”
2018 MEN’S AP ALL-AMERICA TEAM LIST
(Statistics through March 11)
Jalen Brunson, Villanova, 6-3, 190, junior, Lincolnshire, Ill., 19.4 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 4.7 apg, 53.1 fg pct, 41.3 3pt fg pct (63 first-place votes, 321 points)
Deandre Ayton, Arizona, 7-1, 250, freshman, Nassau, Bahamas, 20.3 ppg, 11.5 rpg, 61.6 fg pct, 2.0 blocks (61, 317)
Trae Young, Oklahoma, 6-2, 180, freshman, Norman, Okla., 27.4 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 8.8 apg, 1.7 steals, 35.3 minutes (61, 315)
Marvin Bagley III, Duke, 6-11, 234, freshman, Phoenix, 21.1 ppg, 11.5 rpg, 60.5 fg pct, 2.0 blocks (59, 313)
Devonte’ Graham, Kansas, 6-2, 185, senior, Raleigh, N.C., 17.3 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 7.5 apg, 1.6 steals, 41.2 3pt fg pct, 83.4 ft pct, 37.6 minutes (54, 303)
Keita Bates-Diop, Ohio State, 6-7, 235, junior, Normal, Ill., 19.4 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 1.7 blocks (10, 186)
Trevon Bluiett, Xavier, 6-6, 198, senior, Indianapolis, 19.5 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 2.5 apg, 42.3 3pt fg pct, 86.1 ft pct (5, 183)
Jock Landale, Saint Mary’s, 6-11, 255, senior, East Malvern, Australia, 21.4 ppg, 10.3 rpg, 2.1 apg, 64.0 fg pct, 1.1 blocks (3, 153)
Miles Bridges, Michigan State, 6-7, 225, sophomore, Flint, Mich., 16.9 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 2.8 apg, 88.3 ft pct (3, 145)
Jevon Carter, West Virginia, 6-2, 205, senior, Maywood, Ill., 17.0 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 6.6 apg, 86.3 ft pct, 2.9 steals (1, 109)
Keenan Evans, Texas Tech, 6-3, 190, senior, Richardson, Texas, 17.5 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 3.2 apg, 1.2 steals (2, 102)
Carsen Edwards, Purdue, 6-1, 200, sophomore, Atascocita, Texas, 18.5 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 3.0 apg, 41.2 3pt fg pct, 1.2 steals (0, 99)
Mikal Bridges, Villanova, 6-7, 210, junior, Malvern, Pa., 18.0 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 2.1 apg, 52.1 fg pct, 43.3 3pt fg pct, 85.1 ft pct, 1.6 steals (2, 64)
Luke Maye, North Carolina, 6-8, 240, junior, Huntersville, N.C., 17.2 ppg, 10.1 rpg, 2.4 apg, 44.0 3pt fg pct, 1.0 steals, 1.1 blocks (0, 64)
Kyle Guy, Virginia, 6-2, 175, sophomore, Indianapolis, 14.1 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 39.5 3pt fg pct, 1.0 steals (0, 40)
Louisville has reportedly hired Xavier’s Chris Mack as its basketball coach, hoping he can guide the program back to national contention after a turbulent season in which the Cardinals missed the NCAA tournament. Mack led the Musketeers to a 29-6 record and the school’s first-ever No. 1 tournament seeding this season but was upset in the second round by Florida State. He was 215-97 in nine seasons at his alma mater. Mack, 48, said in a tweet Tuesday that “this situation offered a new and unique challenge that I could not turn down.” He did not mention Louisville. The Cleveland native takes over for David Padgett, who went 22-14 last season as Louisville’s interim coach after the school fired Rick Pitino in the wake of a federal corruption investigation of college basketball. …
Former Toronto Raptors coach Darrell Walker has been hired as the coach at Arkansas-Little Rock. Walker’s hiring follows the firing of former coach Wes Flanigan this month after a school-record 25 losses by the Trojans. The 57-year-old Walker most recently spent two seasons as the coach at Division II Clark Atlanta University, where he was 45-18. … Tubby Smith isn’t ready to retire, so after being fired by Memphis he was looking for employment. High Point needed a men’s basketball coach and soon Smith got a call from his alma mater, which announced Tuesday they’d hired the former Kentucky coach. … Pittsburgh is turning to Jeff Capel to turn around its struggling basketball program. Capel will take over Kevin Stallings, who was fired earlier this month. Capel spent the last seven seasons as an assistant under Mike Krzyzewski at Duke. Capel previously served as head coach at Virginia Commonwealth and Oklahoma, taking both schools to the NCAA tournament during his tenure. The 43-year-old Capel has a 162-110 career record.
Florida State point guard CJ Walker is leaving the program. Coach Leonard Hamilton said in a statement on Tuesday that Walker asked for the release and that he appreciated his contributions over the past two seasons. The 6-foot-1 sophomore started 34 of 35 games for the Seminoles, who lost to Michigan in the West Region final. … Final Four-bound Kansas, Michigan State and UCLA headline what will be another strong field at the 2019 Maui Invitational. The Maui field is annually one of the best among college basketball’s holiday tournaments and the 2019 bracket, announced on Tuesday, will include teams that have combined for 16 national championships and 44 Final Four berths. The field will also include BYU, Dayton, Georgia, Virginia Tech and host Chaminade.