Andrew Bogut was just another international player when the college basketball season started, not even meriting an honorable mention in the preseason All-America balloting.
All that has changed now for the 7-foot sophomore from Australia. The Utah center was the leading vote-getter on The
Associated Press' All-America team announced Tuesday.
Bogut, who averaged 20.4 points and was second in the country in rebounding at 12.4, was joined on the first team by senior forwards Wayne Simien of Kansas and Hakim Warrick of Syracuse, junior guard J.J. Redick of Duke and sophomore guard Chris Paul of Wake Forest.
The voting was done on a 5-3-1 basis by the same 72-member national media panel that selects the Top 25 each week. The balloting was conducted before the NCAA Tournament began.
Bogut received 60 first-team votes and 330 points, 22 more than Redick, who had 53 first-team votes.
Simien and Paul each had 289 points with Simien getting 45 first-team votes, one more than Paul. Warrick also had 44 first-team votes and got 283 points.
Bogut was the only member of the first team not to have received any recognition after last season. In fact, he was the only one of the five not to have been at least an honorable mention selection in the preseason All-America balloting. Now Bogut is considered a sure lottery pick, and the possible top pick, if he decides to declare for the NBA draft.
"The thing that impresses me the most about Andrew is his ability to get better as the year went along," first-year Utah
coach Ray Giacoletti said. "I've never seen a guy his size with
the versatility he has and the will to win he has."
Bogut showed off his passing skills with a season-high seven assists in the Utes' second-round win over Oklahoma last Saturday, a game in which he has a season-low 10 points on just seven shots. That led the Utes into the round of 16 for the first time since their 1998 run to the national championship game.
"We were just trying to have a successful year and do our best," said Bogut, Utah's first All-American since Andre Miller in 1999. "It just all came together these last couple of weeks."
Redick is one of the best shooters in the game from long range -- 40.5 percent on 3-pointers -- and the free throw line -- 93.7
percent. The 6-4 Redick averaged 22.1 points and played 37.3
minutes per game for the short-handed Blue Devils, who won the
Atlantic Coast Conference tournament for the sixth time in seven
years and are in the round of 16 for the eighth straight year.
"J.J. has become a complete player," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "Everyone watches his shooting ability. He's
found different ways to score; he's become our best off-the-ball
perimeter defender; he's handled the ball; he's become a leader for
Redick is the first Duke All-American since Jason Williams was selected in 2001 and 2002.
The other three All-Americans all were eliminated from the NCAA Tournament on the opening weekend.
The 6-0 Paul had one of the most impressive stat lines in
college basketball. He averaged 15.3 points, 4.5 rebounds, 6.6
assists, 2.4 steals and shot 47.4 percent on 3s and 83.4 percent
from the free throw line.
He was the leading vote-getter on the AP's preseason All-America team and he's Wake Forest's first postseason selection since Tim Duncan repeated in 1997.
"I just love the way he commands a game," Wake Forest coach
Skip Prosser said. "He's not without flaws, but I wouldn't trade
him for any point guard in the country."
The 6-9 Simien had an outstanding career despite what seemed like constant injuries. He missed 28 games over his first three years with various injuries and he missed four games this season after having surgery on his left thumb. Still, he averaged 20.3 points and 11.0 rebounds while shooting 55.2 percent from the field and 81.6 percent at the free throw line to become the Jayhawks' first All-American since Nick Collison in 2003.
"He had the best year of any player I have ever coached," Kansas' Bill Self said. "It's amazing the adversity he has been through but he remains so positive. His play is a direct reflection
of his attitude."
The 6-8 Warrick, one of the key players in Syracuse's 2003
national championship run, averaged 21.4 points and 8.6 rebounds
while shooting 54.8 percent from the field, a stat augmented by his
spectacular dunking ability.
"It's a special honor especially since no Syracuse player has
done it since Billy Owens in 1991 and there have so many great
players here the last few years like Carmelo (Anthony)," Warrick
Orange coach Jim Boeheim said: "Hak was spectacular. The dunks he made just demoralized people. He took over games and we struggled to score except for him."
Nevada's Nick Fazekas, a 6-foot-11 sophomore, and LSU sophomore forward Brandon Bass also received honorable mention. Bass, the Southeastern Conference Player and Scholar-Athlete of the Year, finished the year averaging 17.3 points per game (third
best in the SEC), 9.1 rebounds (2nd in the SEC) while leading the
league in field goal shooting at 56.7 percent. Bass scored in double figures in 27 of 30 games with 12 double doubles.
In addition to Roberts and Gomes, last season's first team
included Jameer Nelson of Saint Joseph's, Emeka Okafor of
Connecticut and Josh Childress of Stanford.