Arizona State's James Harden Named USBWA First Team All-American
March 16, 2009
ST. LOUIS (USBWA) - North Carolina forward Tyler Hansbrough headlines the 2008-09 U.S. Basketball Writers Association's All-America Team. The 6-9 senior from Poplar Bluff, Mo., has earned a spot on the first team for the third straight season. Hansbrough is the first three-time USBWA first-team All-American since 1985 when a trio of players - Patrick Ewing, Keith Lee and Wayman Tisdale - were first-teamers from 1983-85. He is among the five first-team selections.
After earning the 2008 Oscar Robertson Trophy as the USBWA's National Player of the Year and the USBWA's National Freshman of the Year honors in 2006, Hansbrough joins an elite group of just 18 players to be named to the USBWA All-America Team three times. Sam Perkins (1982-84) is the only other Tar Heel to achieve such status.
Hansbrough, a first-team All-ACC performer, has led North Carolina to a 28-4 season and a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament's South Regional with 21.4 points per game and 8.2 rebounds.
DeJuan Blair is the first Pittsburgh player to earn USBWA All-America honors since Jerome Lane made the second team in 1988. No Pitt player had made the first team since Billy Knight in 1974. The Panthers are the top seed in the East Region with a 28-4 mark. It marks the first time in school history that Pitt has earned a No. 1 seed. Blair, the Big East Co-Player of the Year, has scored 15.6 points per game to go with 12.2 rebounds.
Davidson's Stephen Curry earned his way on the team as the Southern Conference Player of the Year. His 28.6 points per game led the nation. He shot 38.2 percent from 3-point range and also added 5.2 assists per game. Curry is the fourth Davidson player to earn USBWA All-America honors, but the first since Mike Maloy in 1969.
Blake Griffin, the Big 12 Player of the Year, led the nation in rebounding (14.3 per game) to go with 21.9 points per game in leading Oklahoma to a No. 2 seed in the NCAA field. He is the first Sooner since Hollis Price in 2003 to make the USBWA All-America squad. Griffin's season was highlighted by the only 40/20 game in Big 12 history when he scored 40 points and grabbed 23 rebounds vs. Texas Tech on Feb. 14.
Pac-10 Player of the Year James Harden is the first player from Arizona State to appear on a USBWA All-America first team. Ike Diogu earned second team honors in 2005. His 20.8 points per game led the Pac-10 as Arizona State recorded back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time since 1980-81.
Five players were also chosen for the USBWA's second team.
Notre Dame's Luke Harangody, the first player to lead the Big East in scoring (23.2) and rebounding (12.0) in back-to-back seasons, has earned second-team All-America honors for the second straight season.
Kansas' Sherron Collins, a first-team All-Big 12 selection, is the fourth Jayhawk to earn USBWA All-America honors since 2002. He led Kansas and was fourth in the Big 12 with 18.3 points per game to go with 5.0 assists.
Jodie Meeks of Kentucky led the SEC in scoring in earning all-conference honors. His 54-point game vs. Tennessee on Jan. 13 set a school record. Meeks led the SEC with 24.2 points per game and shot 89.4 percent from the free-throw line to lead the league. He is the first Kentucky player to make the USBWA All-America Team since Tayshaun Prince in 2001.
Wake Forest's Jeff Teague, a member of the All-ACC second team, averaged 19.1 points and shot 44.6 percent from 3-point range and 82.3 percent from the free-throw line. He also averaged 1.9 steals per game. He is the third Demon Deacon since 2003 to collect USBWA All-America honors.
Hasheem Thabeet of Connecticut, the Big East Co-Player and Defensive Player of the year, led the Huskies to a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament with 13.6 points, 10.8 rebounds and 4.6 blocks per game.
Following is the complete 2008-09 USBWA All-America team:
DeJuan Blair, Pittsburgh, F, 6-7, 265, So., Pittsburgh, Pa.
Stephen Curry, Davidson, G, 6-3, 185, Jr., Charlotte, N.C.
Blake Griffin, Oklahoma, F, 6-10, 251, So., Oklahoma City, Okla.
Tyler Hansbrough, North Carolina, F, 6-9, 250, Sr., Poplar Bluff, Mo.
James Harden, Arizona State, G, 6-5, 218, So., Los Angeles, Calif.
Sherron Collins, Kansas, G, 5-11, 200, Jr., Chicago, Ill.
Luke Harangody, Notre Dame, F, 6-8, 255, Jr., Schererville, Ind.
Jodie Meeks, Kentucky, G, 6-4, 208, Jr., Norcross, Ga.
Jeff Teague, Wake Forest, G, 6-2, 180, So., Indianapolis, Ind.
Hasheem Thabeet, Connecticut, C, 7-3, 263, Jr., Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania
The U.S. Basketball Writers Association was formed in 1956 at the urging of then-NCAA Executive Director Walter Byers. Today, it is one of the most influential organizations in college basketball. It has selected an All-America team since the 1956-57 season. For more information on the USBWA and its All-America team, contact executive director Joe Mitch and 314-421-0339.