Morant adds AP first team All-American to honors


At this time last year, Ja Morant was finishing a nice freshman season at Murray State. The former Crestwood High School basketball standout was a first team All-Ohio Valley Conference selection.On Tuesday, Morant became a consensus All-American.

Morant, who exploded on the college basketball scene this season, was named a first team All-American by The Associated Press.

To be a consensus All-America by the NCAA standard, points are granted from the All-America selections of The Associated Press, United States Basketball Writers Association, National Association of Basketball Coaches and The Sporting News. Morant ended up as a first team pick for all but The Sporting News.

Morant averaged 24.6 points and 10.0 assists per game, becoming the first player in college basketball history to average at least 20 points and 10 assists since assists became an official statistic in the 1983-84 season.

He is joined on the first team by Duke freshman Zion Williamson, his AAU teammate, Duke freshman RJ Barrett, Tennessee senior Grant Williams and Michigan State junior Cassius Winston.

The 6-foot-3-inch point guard also averaged 5.5 rebounds and 1.8 steals. He shot 50.3 percent from the floor and 81 percent from the free throw line.

Morant is also a first team selection by Bleacher Report and Sports Illustrated and is a second team selection by NBC Sports, USA Today and Stadium.

Morant is also in the running for the Oscar Robertson Trophy, Naismith Trophy and the Lute Olson Award, and is one of 15 finalists for the Wooden Award. Each award is given to the National Player of the Year. Morant is also one of five finalists for the Bob Cousy Award, given to the nation's top point guard.

Morant averaged 12.4 points, 6.5 rebounds and 6.2 assists on a veteran team as a freshman. It was expected he would step up in a big way for the Racers, but it's unlikely anyone expected a first team All-American and a likely NBA Draft lottery pick to emerge.

The Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year, Morant finished the season with 331 assists, the sixth-most in NCAA single-season history. His 331 assists and 808 points are both Murray State single-season records and he set the MSU career assist record in only two seasons.

Murray State went 28-5 and reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament. It was the second straight year the Racers reached the NCAAs.

Morant posted just the ninth triple-double in NCAA Tournament play with 17 points, 16 assists and 11 rebounds in the Racers' first-round win over Marquette.

"He's one of the most exceptional players that I've had a chance to watch play," said Florida State head coach Leonard Hamilton, whose Seminoles knocked Murray State out of the tournament in the second round, in The Associated Press story on its All-America team. "He's kind of a throwback to guys who have the ability to score points, but also has the passion and the excitement about creating opportunities for his teammates."

Morant finished the season with 331 assists, the sixth-most in NCAA single-season history. His 331 assists and 808 points are both Murray State single-season records and he set the MSU career assist record in only two seasons.

Morant had 15 games this season with 20-plus points and 10-plus assists; no other player nationally had three such games. In January, he became the first NCAA DI player in 20 years to record a game of 40 points, 11 assists and five steals in a regulation game.

2018-19 AP All-America Teams

Statistics through March 17

First Team

Zion Williamson, Duke, 6-7, 285, freshman, Spartanburg, S.C., 22.1 ppg, 8.9 rpg, 2.1 apg, 69.3 fg%, 1.8 blocks, 2.2 steals (64 of 64 first-place votes, 320 points).

Grant Williams, Tennessee, 6-7, 236, junior, Charlotte, N.C., 19.0 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 3.1 apg, 56.5 fg%, 82.6 ft%, 1.4 blocks, 1.1 steals (49, 286).

RJ Barrett, Duke, 6-7, 202, freshman, Mississauga, Ontario, 22.9 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 4.1 apg (44, 275).

Ja Morant, Murray State, 6-3, 175, sophomore, Dalzell, S.C., 24.6 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 10.0 apg, 50.3 fg%, 81.0 ft%, 1.8 steals (43, 272).

Cassius Winston, Michigan State, 6-1, 185, junior, Detroit, 18.9 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 7.6 apg, 40.4 3-pt fg%, 84.0 ft% (42, 268).

Second Team

Rui Hachimura, Gonzaga, 6-8, 230, junior, Toyama, Japan, 20.1 rpg, 6.6 rpg, 60.9 fg%, 1.0 steals (25, 207).

Jarrett Culver, Texas Tech, 6-6, 195, sophomore, Lubbock, Texas, 18.5 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 3.7 apg, 1.4 steals (15, 188).

Markus Howard, Marquette, 5-11, 175, junior, Chandler, Ariz., 24.8 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 4.0 apg, 40.6 3-pt fg%, 3.5 3-pt fg/game, 88.7 ft%, 1.1 steals (11, 186).

Ethan Happ, Wisconsin, 6-10, 237, senior, Milan, Ill., 17.5 ppg, 10.1 rpg, 4.6 apg, 53.1 fg%, 1.3 blocks, 1.1 steals (6, 139).

Carsen Edwards, Purdue, 6-1, 200, junior, Atascocita, Texas, 23.0 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 3.0 apg, 84.3 ft%, 3.3 3-pt fg/game, 1.4 steals (6, 133).

Third Team

De'Andre Hunter, Virginia, 6-7, 225, junior, Philadelphia, 15.1 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 2.1 apg, 53.0 fg%, 45.7 3-pt fg% (3, 125).

Dedric Lawson, Kansas, 6-9, 235, junior, Memphis, Tenn., 19.1 ppg, 10.3 rpg, 82.4 ft%, 1.1 blocks, 1.3 steals (3, 110).

Brandon Clarke, Gonzaga, 6-8, 215, junior, Phoenix, 16.5 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 69.3 fg%, 3.1 blocks, 1.2 steals (4, 92).

PJ Washington, Kentucky, 6-8, 228 sophomore, Dallas, 14.8 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 51.5 fg%, 41.9 3-pt fg%, 1.2 blocks (1, 79).

Kyle Guy, Virginia, 6-2, 175, junior, Indianapolis, 15.6 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 2.2 apg, 46.3 3-pt fg%, 83.6 ft% (1, 44).

Honorable Mention (alphabetical order)

Keith Braxton, St. Francis (Pa.); Ignas Brazdeikis, Michigan; Tookie Brown, Georgia Southern; Chris Clemons, Campbell; RJ Cole, Howard; Jeremy Combs, Texas Southern; Jarron Cumberland, Cincinnati; Mike Daum, South Dakota State; Jordan Davis, Northern Colorado; Cameron Delaney, Sam Houston State; Lamine Diane, Cal State Northridge; Daniel Gafford, Arkansas; Jon Axel Gudmundsson, Davidson; Rapolas Ivanauskas, Colgate; Ty Jerome, Virginia; Cameron Johnson, North Carolina; Anthony Lamb, Vermont; Fletcher Magee, Wofford; Caleb Martin, Nevada; CJ Massinburg, Buffalo; Garrison Mathews, Lipscomb; Luke Maye, North Carolina; Drew McDonald, Northern Kentucky; Sam Merrill, Utah State; Jaylen Nowell, Washington; Miye Oni, Yale; Shamorie Ponds, St. John's; Myles Powell, Seton Hall; Admiral Schofield, Tennessee; Marial Shayok, Iowa State; B.J. Stith, Old Dominion; Matisse Thybulle, Washington; Jake Toolson, Utah Valley; Marques Townes, Loyola of Chicago; Tremont Waters, LSU; Coby White, North Carolina; Justin Wright-Foreman, Hofstra; Cameron Young, Quinnipiac.