Gonzaga and Baylor spent most of the season holding the top two spots in the Top 25.
It makes sense that they hold various spots on The Associated Press All-America teams.
Corey Kispert of the Bulldogs and Jared Butler of the Bears led the way with first-team nods Tuesday from the national panel of 63 media members who vote each week in the AP Top 25 poll.. They were joined by unanimous pick Luka Garza of Iowa, a two-time pick, along with Ayo Dosunmu of Illinois and Cade Cunningham of Oklahoma State.
However, Kispert and Butler had a lot of company.
The Bulldogs also landed big man Drew Timme and first-year sensation Jalen Suggs on the second team, while Joel Ayayi was an honorable mention pick. The Bears had Davion Mitchell on the third team and MaCio Teague as an honorable mention.
“Thinking of myself as a freshman coming to Baylor and not knowing what I’m getting into, not having expectations of how good I’m going to be or how good I’m going to be, it means a lot to complete the circle,” he said. Butler, the Big 12 player of the year and an All-American third team last season.
It is the first time that Baylor, who won first place in the NCAA Tournament, has had an All-American first team.
“These awards are just team awards,” said Butler, who dropped out of the NBA draft to return in his junior year. “I wouldn’t be here without my teammates playing with me and giving me confidence. It was nice. “
Kispert also dropped out of the draft and also led his team to No. 1 overall.as well as helping the Bulldogs finish a perfect regular season. He joined Dan Dickau, Adam Morrison, and Kelly Olynyk as Gonzaga’s first-team All-Americans.
“He is the epitome of a college athlete. He’s an example of the term student-athlete, great student, great ambassador for the program, our school, and college athletics in general, ”said Gonzaga coach Mark Few. “Everything has been because of the work, the time he has invested and his physical and mental growth. He’s an amazing guy. “
So is Garza, the brilliant great man from Iowa, who got two votes from being a unanimous election last season. In fact, he’s been so dominant that the school’s career leading scorer will have his No. 55 jersey retired at the end of the season.
“He is the focal point of all defenses every time we speak. The more tape he has on him, the harder it becomes for him, ”said Hawkeyes coach Fran McCaffery. “So I was very impressed with his relentlessness to keep improving and to handle whatever comes his way.”
Like the Hawkeye, the Fighting Illini had never had a first-team pick until Dosunmu arrived. The two-time point guard All-Big Ten led them to the conference tournament title. last weekend and a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.
Joining those veterans, seniors Garza and Kispert, juniors Butler and Dosunmu, is Cunningham, the favorite to be picked first overall in the NBA draft.. The quiet freshman forward helped engineer a Baylor surprise at the Big 12 tournament and will lead the fourth-seeded Cowboys to the NCAA Tournament.
“Oklahoma State, last year was not the year they were proud of,” Cunningham said, “but I know there are a lot of guys who wanted to win and they were going to do whatever it took to win. So, having a group of guys like that, with the coach that we have and the staff that we have, that’s what I want to surround myself with ”.
While the first team was packed with seniors, the second belonged to the college basketball youth.
There was Suggs, the freshman who led Gonzaga to high-profile victories over Kansas and Iowa earlier in the season, and Timme, the sophomore who went from key backup to crucial starter for the United States Conference champions. the West Coast.
Joining them were a trio of pole players: Kofi Cockburn from Illinois, Hunter Dickinson from Michigan and Evan Mobley from USC.
“Very proud of Evan, his development,” Trojans coach Andy Enfield said. “He has really improved as a player throughout the season and we are going to need him to play at a high level from the end of this week.”
Baylor’s Mitchell was joined on the third team by Quentin Grimes, the scoring point guard for Houston; Herb Jones from Alabama; Cameron Krutwig of Loyola Chicago; and Chris Duarte from Oregon.
Like the first and second team All-Americans, their teams will also play in the NCAA Tournament this week.
“You never want to take victory for granted,” said Krutwig, a member of the Ramblers team that made it to the Final Four in 2018. “We worked hard on it. But we were sitting there saying, ‘There’s so much more to do.’
AP basketball writer John Marshall and AP sports writers Michael Marot and Stephen Hawkins contributed to this report.
More AP College Basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/College-basketball and http://www.twitter.com/AP_Top25