Blake Griffin and Tyler Hansbrough spent a lot of time together on the court last weekend and were back together Monday as the top vote-getters on The Associated Press’ All-America team.
Griffin, the sophomore forward from Oklahoma who led the nation in rebounding, was the only unanimous selection for the team. Hansbrough, the consensus player of the year last season as a junior, repeated as a first-teamer the day after his Tar Heels beat the Sooners 72-60 to advance to the Final Four.
Joining them on the team were players from schools with little All-America history, sophomores DeJuan Blair of Pittsburgh, James Harden of Arizona State and junior Stephen Curry of Davidson.
Griffin, who averaged 21 points and 14.3 rebounds while shooting 63.5 percent from the field, became college basketball’s image for toughness when he returned from a concussion only to drive headlong onto the scorer’s table.
He received 71 first-team votes and 335 points from the same national media panel that selects the weekly Top 25. Balloting was done before the NCAA tournament.
Hansbrough, a unanimous pick last season along with Kansas State’s Michael Beasley, got 50 first-team votes and 304 points. This is the fourth straight season the 6-foot-9 forward received All-America recognition. He was a third-team pick as a freshman and was on the second team after his sophomore season.
Blair is Pittsburgh’s second first-teamer, joining Don Hennon in 1958. Curry, who led the nation in scoring, is Davidson’s second as well. Fred Hetzel was Davidson’s first first-teamer in 1965.
Harden is Arizona State’s first AP All-America.
Griffin, the Big 12 player of the year, is the third Oklahoma player to be selected and the first since Stacey King in 1989. Wayman Tisdale of the Sooners was a three-time All-America from 1983-85.
“When Coach (Jeff) Capel started recruiting me, he talked to me a lot about changing the culture of this program and getting it back to a place where guys like Wayman Tisdale and Stacey King and those guys came to play,” said Griffin, a native of Oklahoma City. “It’s definitely an honor.”
Hansbrough, who is in his second straight Final Four with the Tar Heels, is the third North Carolina player to repeat. He joins Phil Ford (1977-78) and Michael Jordan (1983-84).
“Those are some of my favorite Carolina players. To be up there with them — that’s special,” Hansbrough said. “I never dreamed of that when I came here.”