ST. LOUIS (USBWA) Led by dynamic freshman teammates, five standout players have been named to the U.S. Basketball Writers Association's 2018-19 All-America First Team. The team features the four finalists for the Oscar Robertson Trophy as the National Player of the Year, among them freshmen RJ Barrett and Zion Williamson of Duke, who are also finalists for the Wayman Tisdale Award as the National Freshman Player of the Year.
Joining the two freshmen on the first team are versatile forward Grant Williams of Tennessee, playmaking guard Ja Morant of Murray State and defensive phenom forward Rui Hachimura of Gonzaga. The first team includes the USBWA Players of the Year from District III (Williamson), District IV (Williams) and District IX (Hachimura), and four of the five were the Players of the Year in their respective conferences.
The USBWA has named an All-America team since its founding season of 1956-57. Traditionally, ten players have been honored, divided into a first and second team beginning in the 1984-85 season. For the first time, the USBWA has formally expanded its All-America selections to 15 players on three teams. For the 1997-98 season, the USBWA did select 15 players on three teams.
Barrett, a 6-7 freshman forward from Mississauga, Ont., and Williamson, a 6-7 freshman forward from Spartanburg, S.C., are together posting an historic season at Duke, which is the top overall seed in the NCAA Tournament. The tandem is on track to become the first freshman teammates in NCAA history to each average at least 20 points per game in a season. Barrett's 779 points (22.9 per game) is the ACC freshman record, and he is the only major conference player to score 13 or more points in every game this season. Williamson (22.2 per game) is the ACC Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year after leading the conference, shooting 69.5 percent from the field, second nationally.
Williams, a 6-7 forward from Charlotte, N.C., is the Southeastern Conference scoring leader at 19.0 points per game and won a second consecutive conference Player of the Year honor earlier this month. He is among the SEC's top 10 in three other categories and becomes Tennessee's first USBWA All-American since 2008.
Morant, a 6-3 sophomore guard from Dalzell, S.C., is the Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year as the nation's assist leader. Entering the NCAA Tournament, where the Racers are the 12 seed in the West Region, Morant could become the first player to average 20 points and 10 assists per game since assists became an official statistic in the 1985-86 season. He currently averages 24.6 points and 10.0 assists and has scored 20 or more points in 22 games.
Hachimura, the West Coast Conference Player of the Year from Toyama, Japan, has scored in double figures in each of the Zags' 32 games, posting 20-plus points 19 times. The 6-8 junior is third in the WCC in scoring at 20.4 points per game for Gonzaga, the top seed in the NCAA Tournament's West Region. He is also sixth in the league in field goal percentage at 61.1, eighth in rebounding with 6.6 per game, and has 23 blocks.
Named to the USBWA's second team are Jarrett Culver of Texas Tech, the Big 12 regular-season co-champion and No. 3 seed to the West Region; Carsen Edwards of Purdue, the regular season Big Ten co-champion and No. 3 seed in the South; Ethan Happ of Wisconsin, which has the No. 5 seed in the South; Markus Howard of Marquette, the Big East runner-up and No. 5 seed in the West, and Cassius Winston of Michigan State, the other Big Ten co-champion and Big Ten Tournament champion that carries a No. 2 seed into the East Region.
Culver was the District VII and Big 12 Player of the Year as one of the nation's top sophomores, and Winston was the District V and Big Ten Player of the Year and a unanimous first-team selection. Edwards and Happ were also members of the All-Big Ten first team, with Happ becoming the Badgers' first three-time, first-team All-Big Ten honoree. Howard became the second Marquette player to earn Big East Player of the Year honors after leading the conference in scoring at 25.0 points per game.
On the third team, Chris Clemons of Campbell, the nation's scoring leader at an even 30.0 points per game, heads up the roster, along with District VI Player of the Year Dedric Lawson of Kansas. Campbell was the Big South Player of the Year and a member of the USBWA's All-District III team, and Lawson was the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year on the All-Big 12 First Team. Mike Daum of South Dakota State is the three-time Summit League Player of the Year averaging 25.6 points and 11.7 rebounds while shooting 51 percent from the field. Campbell and South Dakota State are headed to the NIT.
Virginia's All-ACC guard De'Andre Hunter is third in the league in field goal percentage (53.3 percent) and 13th in scoring and hit 47.3 percent from three-point range for the ACC regular-season champions. PJ Washington leads Kentucky in both scoring (14.9 ppg) and rebounding (7.5 rpg), while shooting 52.1 percent from the field.
Virginia and Tennessee are the top two seeds in the South Region, while Kansas (No. 4 seed) and Kentucky (No. 2) are both in the Midwest Region.
Following is the complete 2018-19 USBWA All-America Team:
The U.S. Basketball Writers Association was formed in 1956 at the urging of then-NCAA Executive Director Walter Byers. With some 900 members worldwide, 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 award programs, contact executive director Joe Mitch at 314-795-6821.