INDIANAPOLIS (USBWA) A trio of seniors that includes a repeat selection and the Division I career field goal percentage leader · plus two others who are their schools' most decorated players · has been named to the U.S. Basketball Writers Association's 2019-20 All-America First Team. The team includes three players who are USBWA District Players of the Year and four of the five are player of the year honorees in their respective conferences.
The first team consists of senior guards Markus Howard of Marquette and Myles Powell of Seton Hall, senior center Udoka Azubuike of Kansas, junior center Luka Garza of Iowa and sophomore forward Obi Toppin of Dayton. Powell (District II), Toppin (District V) and Garza (District VI) were USBWA Players of the Year and Garza (Big Ten), Toppin (Atlantic 10), Powell (Big East) and Azubuike (Big 12) were the players of the year in their respective conferences. Six of the eight USBWA District Players of the Year are on the complete 15-man team.
The USBWA has named an All-America team since its founding season of 1956-57. This is the second consecutive season that the USBWA has named 15 All-America players on three teams; it had previously honored 10 players on a first and second team beginning in the 1984-85 season, except for a 15-man team in the 1997-98 season. The Big Ten, Big 12 and Atlantic Coast conferences each have three members from a combined seven schools among the 15 players and the Big East has two players selected. The Atlantic 10, Mountain West, Pac-12 and West Coast conferences each have one player on the team.
The USBWA will announce its individual men's national honors on Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET. The Oscar Robertson Trophy, normally presented at the Final Four, will go to the national player of the year, while the Henry Iba Award for national coach of the year and the Wayman Tisdale Award for the national freshman player of the year, will also be revealed. All three winners were to have been honored in St. Louis at an event sponsored and hosted by the Missouri Athletic Club that has been cancelled.
Azubuike led Division I in field goal percentage at 74.8 percent, which helped him break the career shooting percentage record at 74.4 percent (held by UCF's Tacko Fall at 74.0 percent). Azubuike, the Big 12 Player of the Year, led the conference in rebounding (10.5 rpg) and double-doubles (15) and was second in blocked shots at 2.6 per game. He was the only Big 12 player to average a double-double at 13.7 ppg and 10.5 rpg. Azubuike gives Kansas a USBWA All-America selection for a fourth consecutive season, preceeded by Frank Mason III (2016-17 first team), Devontae Graham (2017-18 first team) and Dedrick Lawson (2018-19 second team).
Garza was the USBWA District VI Player of the Year, the Big Ten Player of the Year and is Iowa's first USBWA All-American since 2015-16 (Jarrod Uthoff). The Washington, D.C., product had 740 points and 305 rebounds this season, becoming one of three Big Ten players to ever post or surpass those totals, joining former Purdue players Glenn Robinson (1994) and Joe Barry Carroll (1979). Garza had 12 games with at least 20 points and 10 rebounds which ranked second nationally · and 25 games scoring at least 20 points. He was third in the nation in total field goals (287) and fifth in scoring (23.9 ppg). His 740 points broke a 50-year-old school record held by John Johnson in 1970.
Howard is the lone repeat member of the team after a second-team honor last season, and the nation's leading scorer in the regular season at 27.8 points per game. He and Michigan State's Cassius Winston, a second-team member last year, are the first players to repeat as a USBWA All-American since Doug McDermott of Creighton in the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons. Howard finished the season 21st on the all-time scoring list with 2,761 points and is the Big East's career scoring leader (1,587 points) in league play after averaging a conference-record 28.7 points per game in conference games. He scored 30 or more points 15 times overall and a league single-season record 10 times in conference play. Howard became the fourth player in major conference history to score 40 points on consecutive days when he scored 40 against Davidson (Nov. 28) in the opening game of the Orlando Invitational and 51 a career high in regulation · the next day against USC (also by Johnny Neumann (Ole Miss), Pete Maravich (LSU) and Bob Pettit (LSU).
Powell was the Big East's Player of the Year after averaging 21.0 points per game, second in the conference and 17th in the country. He led Seton Hall to a 21-9 overall record and a share of the conference's regular-season championship for the first time since 1993. He finished second in the Big East scoring at 20.9 ppg in league games, tied for eighth in steals (1.4) and tied for 10th in assists (3.4). Powell topped his scoring average by more than four points (25.8) in league road games, leading the Pirates to a 7-2 Big East road record and a 13-5 mark overall.
Toppin is Dayton's first USBWA All-America selection since Jim Paxson in the 1978-79 season. He became the Flyers' first Atlantic 10 Conference Player of the Year, leading the team to a perfect conference record by averaging 20.2 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game behind 64.4-percent shooting in league play. His 63.3 percent shooting from the field was the fifth-best percentage in the nation. The Flyers had a 20-game win streak going into the A-10 Tournament with their third regular-season championship in the last five seasons, and the 29 wins set a school record as did their first 18-0 record in the A-10.
Four guards and a center form the second team that includes two more conference players of the year. Oregon senior guard Payton Pritchard is one of only three players nationally to average at least 20 points, four rebounds and five assists per game as was named the Pac-12 Player of the Year after leading the league in both scoring (20.5 ppg) and assists (5.6 pg), something only three other Pac-12 players had accomplished. He led the nation with 140 consecutive starts and is the only player in Pac-12 history with 1,900 career points, 600 career assists and 500 career rebounds. Pritchard is Oregon's third USBWA All-American and the Ducks' first since Dillon Brooks in the 2016-17 season.
Cassius Winston led Michigan State in scoring at 18.6 ppg and the All-Big Ten first-team member is one of only seven Division I players to average at least 18.0 points, 5.5 assists and 2.0 rebounds per game. He led the Big Ten in three-point field goal percentage (43.2 percent) and was second in the league in free throw percentage (85.2 percent). Winston is the Big Ten's all-time assist leader (894). Michigan State has had a USBWA All-American in four of the last five seasons.
Malachi Flynn becomes San Diego State's first USBWA All-America selection after finishing the regular season averaging 17.6 points, 5.1 assists and 4.4 rebounds while shooting 44.7 percent from the field. The Mountain West Conference Player of the Year shot 37.2 percent from long range and 85.7 percent from the line. He posted even greater numbers in league games, upping his scoring average to 18.9 points on 45.3 percent shooting including 34.7 percent from distance and 91.7 percent from the line. He scored in double figures in 31 of his 32 starts, led the team in both scoring and assists 21 times, and was 14th nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.86:1).
Vernon Carey Jr., the Atlantic Coast Conference Freshman of the Year, was the only player ranked in that league's top 10 in scoring (third, 17.8 ppg), rebounding (fourth, 8.8), field goal percentage (first, .577) and blocked shots (sixth, 1.6). The only freshman on the 15-man team, Carey posted 15 double-doubles on the season, second among NCAA freshmen and second in the ACC. Ten of his double-doubles were 20-10 performances and he was in the top four among freshmen nationally in scoring, field goal percentage and rebounds. Carey, along with third-team member Tre Jones, gives Duke two All-Americans for a second consecutive year and at least one All-American in four straight seasons and in nine of the last 11.
Kansas' Devon Dotson led the Big 12 in scoring at 18.1 ppg, steals (2.1) and free throws made (142). The guard ranked among the Big 12 leaders in 20-point games (second, 9), field goal percentage (second, 46.8), free throw percentage (fifth, 83.0), assists (fifth, 4.0) and assist-to-turnover ratio (fifth, 1.7), and became just the fifth Jayhawk to lead the Big 12 in scoring and the third in the last four seasons (Mason III in 2017 and Lawson in 2019).
Headlining the third team, Tre Jones, Duke's point guard, was the ACC Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year and was sixth in the ACC in scoring (16.2) and second in assists (6.4). Jordan Nwora was the second-leading vote-getter behind Carey for ACC Player of the Year and is only the Cardinals' second All-ACC first-team selection in Louisville's six years in the league. He was the only player to rank among the ACC's top 10 in scoring, rebounding, free throw percentage, field goal percentage and three-pointers made per game. Nwora is Louisville's first USBWA All-American since Russ Smith in the 2013-14 season.
Filip Petrusev was the West Coast Conference Player of the Year the first underclassman to win that honor since 1981 · with a 17.5-point scoring average and led the league with 56.2 percent shooting from the field with a league-second-best 7.9 rebounds per game. Petrusev is Gonzaga's third USBWA All-American of the last four seasons and fourth in the last six.
Jared Butler was a unanimous pick to the All-Big 12 First Team (16.0 ppg, 3.1 assists) and Baylor's first underclassman named first-team All-Conference since Terry Teagle in 1980. He led the Bears in scoring in 17 of 30 games and ranked in the top 10 in the Big 12 in scoring, three-pointers, three-point percentage, field goal percentage, steals and assists. Butler is Baylor's second USBWA All-American, following Jonathan Motley in 2016-17.
Jalen Smith tallied 21 double-doubles on the season, third nationally and the fourth-most in Maryland's single-season history, and posted 13 in his final 14 games. He was second in the Big Ten in rebounds (10.5) and blocked shots (2.4) and fourth in field-goal percentage (53.8). Smith is Maryland's first USBWA All-American since Juan Dixon in the 2001-02 season.
Following is the complete 2019-20 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.