AP All-America Team: Griffin Unanimous

March 30th, 2009

The Story: Blake Griffin, the leading rebounder in the nation, was the only unanimous selection for the All-American team. Griffin received 71 first-team votes. The voters submit the ballots before the NCAA tournament. The Sooners were bounced from the tournament yesterday by North Carolina, led by fellow All-American Tyler Hansbrough. Hansbrough was a unanimous selection last year while also being named the consensus player of the year as a junior. This is the fourth straight season that he has earned All-American honors. Hansbrough was a third-teamer his freshman year and a second-teamer as a sophomore. He is also the third player to earn back-to-back first team accolades. He joins Phil Ford (1977-78) and Michael Jordan (1983-84). DeJuan Blair is Pittsburgh's second first-team All-American. Blair joins Don Hennon, who received first-team honors in 1958. Blair, who averaged a double-double this season, led the Panthers to a No. 1 seed in this year's tournament. Blair is the only post-season All-American not to be named on the preseason team. James Harden becomes Arizona State's first player to be an AP All-American. Harden averaged 20.1 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 4.2 assists per game. Stephen Curry rounds out the first-team. Curry led the country in scoring at 28.3 points per game. He helped lead Davidson to a regular season Southern Conference title, but Wildcats failed to earn an NCAA bid this season. Hasheem Thabeet of Connecticut, Ty Lawson of North Carolina, Luke Harangody of Notre Dame, Jodie Meeks of Kentucky, and Jerel McNeal of Marquette make up the second-team. The third-team consists of Terrence Williams of Louisville, Toney Douglas of Florida State, Sam Young of Pittsburgh, Sherron Collins of Kansas, and Gerald Henderson of Duke.

AP All-America Team:
G - Stephen Curry, Davidson, Jr
G - James Harden, Arizona St, So
F - Blake Griffin, Oklahoma, So
F - DeJuan Blair, Pittsburgh, So
F - Tyler Hansbrough, UNC, Sr

Ryter's Block: It's hard to argue with the first-team. Griffin will be the No. 1 pick in next year's NBA Draft assuming he forgoes his eligibility and enters. I don't see him coming back next season. I think he proved himself in college, his brother is graduating, and it's almost a guarantee he goes No. 1. He's also matured this season. I think last year he was a ‘show boat' and this year he was more ‘professional.' Tyler Hansbrough may go out on top this year. The Tar Heels are two wins away from a championship. You hardly see a player of this caliber stay in college for four years and I tip my cap to him. Although he isn't projected as a great NBA talent, he will get drafted and deserves first-team honors again. DeJuan Blair manhandled his opponents in the paint (see Hasheem Thabeet). Although the Panthers didn't make it to Detroit, they had a successful season and Blair was the main reason for their success. He was nearly unstoppable underneath. Many people forget that Stephen Curry had to run the point for Davidson this season. I think the transition was done smoothly. I got to watch him in person this year at Madison Square Garden against West Virginia where he just took over that game. He impressed me. He's more then just a shooter, the kid can play. James Harden is a projected NBA lottery pick. He led the Sun Devils to the dance and then he failed to show up come tourney time. He may have dropped to second-team if the voters counted tourney play.

Who was left off? Who shouldn't be on here? Post your comments below.