Purdue’s Zach Edey and Indiana’s Trayce Jackson-Davis have given the Big Ten Conference a third straight year with multiple first-team picks from Associated Press All-America, while Kansas have a second straight first-team player in Jalen Wilson had.
The 7-foot-4, 305-pound Edey appeared on all 58 ballots as the AP Top 25 first team pick Voters as the only unanimous vote in results released Tuesday.
The picks of Edey by the Boilermakers and Jackson-Davis by the Hoosiers came a year after the Big Ten had three first-team picks. And it’s given the league seven in the last three seasons; no other league has more than three.
The Big Ten have had at least one first-team player and eight of the last nine for five consecutive years.
Marcus Sasser of Houston and Brandon Miller of Alabama joined Edey and Wilson on the first team, representing each of the NCAA tournament’s No. 1 seeds.
Edey has commanded the national spotlight all year. Big Ten Player of the Year ranks sixth nationally in scoring (22.3), second in rebounding (12.8), and first in double-doubles (26).
“Everyone says, ‘You go to him so much,'” said Purdue coach Matt Painter after winning the Big Ten tournament against Penn State. “If they say it by the rules, they soil him with every possession. So why not give him a go and just try to get that bonus early and steal points?
“Obviously he can do hard post-ups and he can get to the edge and he gets offensive rebounds if you take him away.”
Jackson-Davis, a 6-9 fourth-year forward, is Indiana’s premier first-team pick since Victor Oladipo in 2013. He averages 20.8 points and 10.9 rebounds while making a jump with his pass (4.1 assists versus 1.9 last year).
“I probably pushed him harder than any other player on this team and I know there were days where he would walk out here and be like, ‘Hey, is this guy really in my corner based on how he’s pushing me ?'” Coach Mike Woodson said. “But at the end of the day he has gotten better as a player.
“We benefited with our ball club from how we played as a team. And he was the driving force behind it.”
Wilson, a 6-8 fourth-year forward, was a returning supplemental starter from last year’s NCAA title run. He thrived in an expanded role and was named Big 12 Player of the Year and nearly doubled his scoring average (20.1 vs. 11.1) with 8.4 rebounds.
It was the fourth time in seven seasons that the Jayhawks had a first-team pick dating back to National Player of the Year Frank Mason III in 2017.
“He’s an elite competitor,” Iowa State coach TJ Otzelberger said after a Big 12 loss to the Jayhawks. “He comes to the glass. He makes cuts. He makes it difficult. He does so many things.”
Sasser, a 6-2 senior, was a starter on the Cougars’ Final Four team two years ago and is the star of another title threat this year. As the first selection for the program’s first team since Hakeem Olajuwon in 1984 during the “Phi Slama Jama” era, he averages 17.1 points.
Miller, a 6-9 freshman, was a McDonald’s All-American who became an instant star en route to being named Southeastern Conference Player of the Year. He averages 19.6 points and 8.3 rebounds for the tournament’s No. 1 overall seed.
Miller was involved in a murder case that overshadowed the successful run of the Crimson Tide and resulted in major murder charges against former Alabama player Darius Miles and another man for the January shooting of 23-year-old Jamea Harris. A police investigator testified last month that Miles texted Miller to get him his gun that night, even though authorities have not charged Miller with a crime.
Pac-12 Player of the Year Jaime Jaquez Jr. of UCLA was the leading vote collector in the second team, which included Kentucky’s Oscar Tshiebwe, last season’s AP International of the Year.
Gonzaga’s Drew Timme was a second-team selection for the third straight year, while Arizona’s Azuolas Tubelis and Penn State’s Jalen Pickett rounded out the second-team quintet.
Kansas State’s resurgence resulted in the Wildcats being selected to the third team with Markquis Nowell and Keyontae Johnson, their first AP All-Americans since Jacob Pullen in 2011.
Big East Player of the Year Tyler Kolek from Marquette, Kris Murray from Iowa and Armando Bacot from North Carolina rounded out the third team.
National leader Antoine Davis of Detroit Mercy, who averaged 28.2 points and fell three points short of the tie “Pistol” Pete Maravich’s all-time career scoring record was the leading vote-picker among players who did not make the three All-America teams.
Players received honorable mention status when they appeared on multiple voters’ ballots. This year’s roster includes Memphis’ Kendric Davis, Xavier’s Souley Boum, and Miami’s Isaiah Wong.
AP Sports Writer Mike Marot from Indianapolis contributed to this report.
Follow Aaron Beard on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/aaronbeardap
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