Remember back in October, when North Carolina's Harrison Barnes became the first freshman to be selected as a preseason first-team AP All-American? Many thought Barnes was merely overhyped. That was probably true (though Barnes did live up to his advance billing before long).
But hype was only part of the AP's hive-minded reasoning. Just as important was the desire to accurately predict the postseason list, which had in many ways become dominated by the top recruits in each year's class. John Wall, Demarcus Cousins, Derrick Rose, Kevin Durant: There was bound to be a freshman on the list by the end of the season, so why not put one on in the preseason?
The idea wasn't wrong. The player was. In the end, Ohio State's Jared Sullinger became this year's lone freshman to grace the AP All-American first team, a deserving honor after a dominant season for the nation's best regular-season team.
In the end, though, this year's All-Americans were not defined by youth. Instead, this list is defined by its seniority.
Three of the AP's first-team -- BYU guard Jimmer Fredette, Duke guard Nolan Smith, and Purdue forward JaJuan Johnson -- were seniors in 2010-11. UConn's Kemba Walker was a junior. The three seniors are the most since the 2006 team, which had four.
What about the player of the year awards? The first, the USBWA's Oscar Robertson Trophy, went to a senior, too. That senior was no surprise: It's Jimmer Fredette.
Expect to hear plenty of arguments on Fredette's worthiness in the coming week. After all, the nation's other main candidate for the award -- Walker -- has played his best hoops in March and guided his team to the Final Four, while Fredette fell in the Elite Eight to Florida. But the end-of-season awards don't factor in postseason performance; much of the voting is complete before the NCAA tournament even begins.
Whether that's the best way to do it or not is up for debate. I tend to think it is, if only because voters can be irrationally swayed by tournament results, and college hoops has already marginalized its regular season. Either way, though, it's hard to argue that Fredette wasn't the best, most consistent and most entertaining player in the college game this season. Title run or not, we'll always remember him as such. And he'll have the hardware to prove it.