Bogut heads AP All-Americans

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 26, 2005

The Associated Press

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.

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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.

A complete list appears on Page 11.

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-America 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 us.''

Redick is the first Duke All-America since Jason Williams was selected in 2001 and 2002.

The other three All-Americas 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-America 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 said.

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.''

The second team had Illinois guards Dee Brown and Luther Head, Sean May of North Carolina, Salim Stoudamire of Arizona and Ike Diogu of Arizona State.

The third team was Deron Williams of Illinois, Shelden Williams of Duke, Nate Robinson of Washington, Raymond Felton of North Carolina and Joey Graham of Oklahoma State.

Two first-team selections from last season - seniors Lawrence Roberts of Mississippi State and Ryan Gomes of Providence - were honorable mentions this season.

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.