With the NCAA Tournament Final Four, All-Americans are being revealed per voting done before the dance began. Denzel Valentine of Michigan State and Buddy Hield of Oklahoma were unanimous picks on the AP All-America team, joined by Brice Johnson of North Carolina, Tyler Ulis of Kentucky and Malcolm Brogdon of Virginia.
This if the second year in a row with two ACC players making the first team. Last season Jerian Grant of Notre Dame and Jahlil Okafor of Duke were named to it. Brogdon was named to the second team last season, Hield to the third. Hield is the first Oklahoma player in the first team since 2009 (Blake Griffin). Draymond Green in 2011-2012 was the last first-team All-American for Michigan State. The last Virginia player named to the first team was Ralph Sampson in 1983. North Carolina haven’t had a first-teamer since Tyler Hansbrough in 2009. Kentucky had Willie Cauley-Stein (now in the NBA) last season.
The team is comprised of four seniors and one freshman (Ulis), just like in 2013-2014 when Sean Kilpatrick, Doug McDermott, Shabazz Napier, Jabari Parker (the freshman) and Russ Smith were named to the first team. Last season had two seniors (Grant and Frank Kaminsky) with three freshman (Okafor, D’Angelo Russell and Cauley-Stein). Of the five players this season, Johnson is the only player not to win his conference’s player of the year award. Brogdon was the ACC selection. Ulis in the SEC, Hield in the Big 12 and Valentine in the Big Ten.
Of the five, only Johnson (North Carolina facing Syracuse) and Hield (Oklahoma playing Villanova) will be in the 2016 Final Four. Valentine and Michigan State were stunned in the first round by Middle Tennessee in a #15 seed over a #2 seed upset. Ulis and Kentucky lost to Indiana in the second round. Brogdon and Virginia made it to the Elite Eight before losing to ACC rivals Syracuse.